Malmö in the southernmost province of Scania, is Sweden’s third largest city by population after Stockholm and Gothenburg. It is the capital of Skåne County. Together with Copenhagen, it constitutes the transnational Øresund Region.
Malmö was one of the earliest and most industrialized towns of Scandinavia, but it struggled with the adaptation to post-industrialism. Since the construction of the Öresund bridge, Malmö has undergone a major transformation with architectural developments, attracting new biotech and IT companies, and particularly students through Malmö University, founded in 1998. The city contains many historic buildings and parks, and is also a commercial centre for the western part of Scania. Malmö was ranked #4 in Grist Magazine’s “15 Green Cities” list in 2007.
Malmö’s oldest building is St Peter’s Church. It was built in the early 14th century in Baltic Brick Gothic probably after St Mary’s Church in Lübeck. The church is built with a nave, two aisles, a transept and a tower. Its exterior is characterized above all by the flying buttresses spanning its airy arches over the aisles and ambulatory. The tower, which fell down twice during the 15th century, got its current look in 1890.
Another old building is Tunneln, 300 metres (1,000 ft) to the west of St Peter’s church, which also dates back to around 1300.
The oldest parts of Malmö were built between 1300-1600 during its first major period of expansion. The central city’s layout as well as some of its oldest buildings are from this time. Many of the smaller buildings from this time are typical Scanian: two story urban houses that show a strong Danish influence.
Recession followed in the ensuing centuries. The next expansion period was in the mid 19th century and led to the modern stone and brick city. This expansion lasted into the 20th century and can be seen by a number of Art Nouveau buildings, among those is the Malmö synagogue. Malmö was relatively late to be influenced by modern ideas of functionalist tenement architecture in the 1930s. Around 1965, the government initiated the so-called Million Programme, intending to offer affordable apartments in the outskirts of major Swedish cities. But this period also saw the reconstruction (and razing) of much of the historical city centre.
Recent years have seen a more cosmopolitan architecture. Västra Hamnen (The Western Harbour), like most of the harbour to the north of the city centre, was industrial. In 2001 its reconstruction began as an urban residential neighbourhood, with 500 residential units, most were part of the exhibition Bo01. The exhibition had two main objectives: develop self-sufficient housing units in terms of energy and greatly diminish phosphorus emissions. Among the new buildings towers were the Turning Torso, a skyscraper with a twisting design, 190 metres (620 ft) tall, the majority of which is residential. It became Malmö’s new landmark.
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