The Crystal, Kiruna's newly designed city hall, is set to deliver a modern facelift to Northern Sweden’s arctic landscape. Henning Larsen Architects created the competition-winning design in collaboration with Tema Landscape Architects, WSP Engineers Sweden and UiWE Cultural Designers. Uniquely crafted to withstand the harsh tundra, the ring-shaped building will also lead as a strong design precedent for the future development of Kiruna's new city center.
The Crystal earned its title from the building’s division into two architectural volumes: the inner building is shaped like a golden crystal, inspired by the city’s underground iron ore deposits; the outer building is sculpted into a ring, protecting the inner “crystal” from the harsh, arctic elements. The rounded shape also helps to maximize daylight penetration into the buildings and create a better microclimate for both inside and outside city hall.
The harbinger for Kiruna’s new city center, the design for city hall represents both a step towards the future, while referencing the city’s past. In a sustainable and historical nod to Kiruna’s culture and history, the new building will reuse materials and building parts from the existing city hall, including the bell tower.
In 2004, after discovering that underground mining had dangerously destabilized the city, Kiruna officials announced that the Swedish city would need to be relocated two miles east. The existing city hall was the first large building to be affected by the underground excavations. The Kiruna Municipality expects the new city hall to open in 2016.
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