The Nobel Center will be built on the Blasieholmen peninsula in central Stockholm, but critics say the modern structure does not fit in with the surrounding historical architecture. The critics want to preserve a nineteenth-century customs building located on the site, but this will be demolished according to the planning application.
On Monday, ahead of the Stockholm City Council decision, some 1000 protesters gathered outside City Hall in a bid to influence the politicians to reject the proposal.
Despite the protests, the city council passed the application to build the Nobel Center, with 54 in favour of the plan and 43 against. The Moderate Party, the Centre Party and the Social Democrats backed the proposal, while the remaining parties opposed the new building.
Lotta Edholm of the Liberal Party criticised the city council’s decision. “A building from the 1870s is being torn down and replaced with a brass-coloured box right at the heart of Stockholm,” she told the news agency TT.
Magnus Nilsson of the Social Democrats was in favour of the plan. He told Swedish Radio: “I understand that this stirs up a lot of emotion, building in the inner city is difficult. It’s difficult for the simple reason that we love our city. I think this knowledge centre could turn into something we should be proud of.”
The Nobel Center will be dedicated to the Nobel Prize and its laureates and will host exhibitions, scientific programmes and school activities.
The new Hagastaden area north of central Stockholm has been proposed as one alternative location for the new centre, based on its proximity to the Karolinska Institute, which appoints laureates for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Construction of the Nobel Center is planned to start in 2017 and should be completed by 2019, but the city council’s decision is likely to go through a drawn-out appeals process.