Stockholm City Hall
Stockholm City Hall is the building of the Municipal Council for the City of Stockholm in Sweden. It stands on the eastern tip of Kungsholmen island, next to Riddarfjärden’s northern shore and facing the islands of Riddarholmen and Södermalm. It houses offices and conference rooms as well as ceremonial halls, and the luxury restaurant Stadshuskällaren. It is the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet and is one of Stockholm’s major tourist attractions.
In 1907 the city council decided to build a new city hall at the former site of Eldkvarn. An architectural contest was held which in the first stage resulted in the selection of drafts by Ragnar Östberg, Carl Westman, Ivar Tengbom jointly with Ernst Torulf, and Carl Bergsten. After a further competition between Westman and Östberg the latter was assigned to the construction of the City Hall, while the former was asked to construct Stockholm Court House. Östberg modified his original draft using elements of Westman’s project, including the tower. During the construction period, Östberg constantly reworked his plans, resulting in the addition of the lantern on top of the tower, and the abandonment of the blue glazed tiles for the Blue Hall.
The site, adjacent to Stadshusbron, being bordered by the streets of Hantverkargatan and Norr Mälarstrand to the north and west, and the shore of Riddarfjärden to the south and east, allowed for a spacious layout. The building follows a roughly rectangular ground plan. It is built around two open spaces, a piazza called Borgargården on the eastern side, and the Blue Hall to the west.
The Blue Hall, with its straight walls and arcades, incorporates elements of a representative courtyard. Its walls are in fact without blue decorations, but it has kept its name after Östberg’s original design. It is known as the dining hall used for the banquet held after the annual Nobel Prize award ceremony. The organ in the Blue Hall is with its 10,270 pipes the largest in Scandinavia. Above the Blue Hall lies the Golden Hall, named after the decorative mosaics made of more than 18 million tiles. The mosaics make use of motifs from Swedish history. They were executed by the Berlin, Germany, firm of Puhl & Wagner (Gottfried Heinersdorff), after nine years of negotiations by Gottfried Heinersdorff (1883-1941) for the commission.
The southeast corner of Stockholm City Hall, immediately adjacent to the shore, is marked by a monumental tower crowned by the Three Crowns, an old national symbol for Sweden. The tower is 106 metres high and is accessible by an elevator or by a stair of 365 steps. The eastern side of its base is decorated with a gold-plated cenotaph of Birger Jarl.
Stockholm City Hall is considered one of Sweden’s foremost examples of national romanticism in architecture. The unique site, overlooking Riddarfjärden, inspired a central motif of the construction, namely the juxtaposition of city architecture and water that also represents a central feature of Stockholm’s cityscape as a whole. The architectural style is one of refined eclecticism, blending massive, austere, North European brick construction and playful elements reminiscent of oriental and venetian architecture, such as turrets adorned with golden starlets, decorated balconies, wooden masts, and statues.
Contributed by ArchiTeam
Photo © Dylan Passmore | CC BY-NC 2.0, via Flickr
Photo © Holger.Ellgaard | CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo © daveballardphoto | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr
Photo © Ingmar Zahorsky | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr