Today we start a new annual competition. For the first time since the swedish Architectural Uprising started in 2014, the five Nordic countries will compete against each other. “Masters and Monsters in new Nordic Architecture 2022” (the MAMINNA prize) is a final for the previous winners from each Nordic architectural uprising competition. See all the ten buildings in the competition below. This is Scandinavian architecture from both its worst and best sides.
UPDATE 2022-03-25: The voting is over. Click here for the final result!
The architectural uprising is now in all of Scandinavia
The architectural uprising started in Sweden 2014. In 2015, it spread to Finland and shortly thereafter to both Denmark and Norway. Last year, the uprising also started in Iceland and their organization is now growing faster than in any country before. Outside the Nordic countries and Scandinavia, you can also find the uprising in Estonia, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, and Croatia. The world is in demand for an English-speaking group and therefore we recently also started an international group called “Architectural Uprising – the alternative to ugliness“.
The nordic uprising is finally voting together
Since 2016, Sweden has been voting for the most beautiful and the most ugly new building in a competition called “Kasper Kalkon”. After six years this prize has drawn more attention in media than the famous Kasper Sahlin prize from the Swedish architecture organization called “Sveriges Arkitekter”. This is probably due to their prize being so predictable. Consistently, for over 60 years, they have only given awarded their prize to gray concrete boxes void of architectural finesse. Not even once has any other style than modernism been awarded the price, let alone been allowed to compete. On top of this, there is no public vote for the winner. Instead, they let a small elite jury full of self-congratulatory friends, upcoming wannabes, and former colleagues choose the winner. Previous winners join the next year’s jury and almost every time they nominate architects from the previous jury members. That is why a new prize was needed not only in Sweden but also in Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, who all have similar problems. Why should a small elite decide what is beautiful?
Update the 25th of march 2022. The voting is over!
How to vote
Our popular competition has now spread to five nordic countries. Last year all the Scandinavian countries voted for both their ugliest and their most beautiful new buildings. For the first time we now want to create a new competition, where the winners from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland all compete against each other. Vote here – click once for the ugliest building and once for the most beautiful building (Update 2022-03-25: the voting has closed – click here for the result.). The winner will be presented in media on April 7 and at the Swedish architecture gala. The winning architect will receive a statue made by the Swedish artist Mikael Grahn called “Skaparvånda” (creative anguish). The swedish architectural uprising has tried to give the prize to every winner in the Swedish competition so far, but no architect has accepted the award. Last year we tried to give it to the famous architect Gert Wingårdh, but even he declined the award.
Before you vote in the nordic final, dont miss that Sweden now has started their annual competition for both the most beautiful new building (click here to vote) and the most ugly new building (click here to vote).
The ugliest buildings in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland
1. Liljevalchs +, extension to the art hall, Stockholm, Sweden
Architect: Gert Wingårdh
Click here to read about the Swedish competition. Gert Wingårdh won the Swedish competition with an impressive 3 595 votes out of a total of 12 154. Is this building designed by Gert Wingårdh a sarcophagus or mausoleum? The concept of a “Wingårdhsbox” has become quite a meme in Sweden’s architectural world. A “Wingårdhsbox” tends to be built in a historic environment in a style that provokes, instead of harmonizes with its surroundings.
This bunker-like pastiche is a macabre concrete block, with perforated holes which resemble the bottom of a bottle. Or as it is described by the now indecently cherished architect Gert Wingårdh himself: “an honest building” with “a light and playful expression that connects to Liljevalchs popular spirit”. We believe the building is rather built in the spirit of a traditional, Swedish glass recycling igloo. The building is hated among both politicians as well as the public.
In discussions on social media, the bloated misery is likened to an egg carton, a car battery or a cooling unit on the one hand, and a crematorium or a giant air source heat pump on the other. On top of this, Wingårhd’s bunker is already a financial failure. The costs have exceeded half a billion SEK and the bill has been sent to the taxpayers. The cost of Liljevalch’s + is now at 570 million SEK, which is 130 million SEK more than initially estimated. As the extension is funded with tax money, every single Stockholm resident has donated about 600 SEK each to make Wingårhd’s dream a reality. Read more about that here. At the opening ceremony, hundreds of people from the architectural uprising came to demonstrate against the uglification. We booed so much that the architect Gert Wingårdh could not hold his concrete celebration speech.
The architectural uprising was told by an insider, that the building was pushed through in Liljevalchs architecture competition. This is thanks to Wingårdh’s self-congratulatory friends, upcoming wannabes, and former colleagues. It was also decided in advance that the extension should be ugly. Click here to read more about that.
2. The Munch Museum Lambda, Oslo, Norway
Architect: Herreros (also known as Horroros)
“The Munch Museum is so ugly that it makes you sick. It is unbelievable that the art of the most beloved Norwegian painter is placed in such a repulsive, huge public building”, said psycher and one of the representatives of the Arkitekturopproret Saher Sourouri. Arkitekturoppröret is a popular movement that fights for more traditional architecture in Norway. More than 11,000 people took part in the vote, choosing the ugliest and most beautiful buildings in Norway out of ten candidates. The organizing committee originally received 300 to 350 proposals, from which it shortlisted.
The museum building called “Lambda” stands on the shores of the Oslo Fjord and offers visitors five times more exhibition space than was available at the former Munch Museum in the Töyen district. You can also see various versions of the artist’s most famous work, “The Scream”.
Although the creation of new space for the exhibition of works by one of the world’s most famous artists was needed and welcome, the new modernistic building with a striking bend resembling the Greek letter, designed by the Spanish studio Herreros (also known as Horroros), has been the target of much critique. “The lobby looks like an airport, warehouse, hotel or commercial building” said art historian Tommy Sörbö, adding “there is nothing in the choice of colors and materials to suggest that this place is home to one of the world’s greatest artists”. The manager of the institution is of a different opinion. According to him, the museum must provoke, just as Munch’s paintings did in their time. According to him, an ugly building gets more attention than a beautiful building that blends in and hamonizes with its surroundings. Positive or negative attention does not matter, as long as a building gets famous. This is a common opinion among modernistic box architects.
3. Keski-Suomen Sairaala Nova, Jyväskylä, Finland
Architect: JKMM Arkitekter
The front-runner in the Finnish Architecture Uprising “Fuulandia of Architecture 2021” anti-award competition was given to the new “black cube of death”, also known as the Hospital Nova in Jyväskylä or Keski-Suomen Sairaala Nova.
That the award went to Nova was not a surprise, Nova has been a recurring theme in AU Finland’s posts throughout the year. One might argue that a new hospital doesn’t necessarily have to be among the most beautiful building – or maybe that’s precisely what they should and need to be? One thing is for certain, it should not live up to the very definition of the gates of hell!
How can you expect to be cured of your ailments going into what is essentially an ugly, black shoebox that is the very epitome of contemporary modernism. As the saying goes, “Modernism is something you do to other people”, and this building is a true testament to this.
Is this the future of architecture? It might be unless people speak up for Architecture Uprising in order to get aesthetics back from the monopolists’ and back to the people.
4. Lilli Gyldenkildes Torv, Horsens, Denmark
Lilli Gyldenkilde’s Torv in Horsens, Denmark was designed by ARKITEMA Architects in Copenhagen for the construction company CASA on behalf of the housing association LEJERBO. Even though it is situated in the center of a medieval city, it signals suburb dreariness and gloom. Following the victory in Arkitekturoprøret’s competition Danish public TV and radio channels produced transmissions about the failed building project. However, the owners LEJERBO seem satisfied with the project.
5. Austurhöfn, Reykjavík, Iceland
Architect: T.ark arkitektar
Austurhöfn is a new area of downtown Reykjavík that is built on top of a landfill near the old Reykjavík harbor. The area consists of several new buildings that are highly controversial in Reykjavík. Members of AU Iceland have described Austurhöfn as soulless, gloomy, and sterile boxes that overshadow the neighboring environment and do nothing to beautify the city. The project’s architects are T.ark arkitektar and construction was led by Mannvit.
The most beautiful buildings in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland
1. Rækkehuse, Svendborg, Denmark
Architect: C&W Arkitekter
Kullinggade 3-5-7 in Svendborg, Denmark was designed by C & W ARKITEKTER of Svendborg for Kullinggade 3-5-7 APS. These four small houses are well adapted to the surroundings, consisting of old buildings. Blending well with the surrounding architecture, they add aesthetic value unlike any modernistic building ever could.
2. Scandic Hamburger Börs, Turku / Åbo, Finland
Architect: Schauman Architects
The Scandic Hamburger Börs, designed by Schauman Architects, replaced an ugly 1970:s hotel building. The round corner and roof with clear influences from art deco give this building a sympathetic look. Although the windows are quite monotonous, this is still an improvement over most new-builds. The Photoshopped image below shows what the building probably would have looked like, if Finland had not been one of the first countries in the world to start an architectural uprising!
Pictured below is the building that was demolished. Could this be the first building in Scandinavia post 1930 to be demolished and then replaced with something that was more beautiful than what was demolished?
3. Mjólkurbú Flóamanna, Selfoss, Iceland
Mjólkurbú Flóamanna is one of several beautiful new buildings built in the new Selfoss centrum and is truly a centerpiece of the project.
All the houses of the new town center are reconstructions of historical houses that once stood all over Iceland, but have since been destroyed, either by fire or by demolition. The architects behind this project are Batteríið arkitektar. The beautiful reconstruction of Mjólkurbú flóamanna gives a warm welcome to all visitors and inhabitants of Selfoss.
4. Jupiter & Gran carpentry hall, Sundsvall, Sweden
Builder: Jupiter & Gran
Architect: Tradition Arkitekter
Click here to read about the Swedish competition. Jupiter & Gran are currently planning to mass-produce houses built with wood. The houses will be available in different sizes and colors and they are currently in the process of purchasing a lot to build the first 4-6 story building in Åre or Stockholm. Click here to follow the hyped developer Jupiter & Gran on Facebook!
The first prototype building is already under construction and in a few years, hopefully, you will be able to see these buildings all over Sweden. Until then, their beautiful carpentry hall built 2020 in Matfors, outside of Sundsvall, will have to suffice. This building won the competition “Sweden’s most beautiful new-build”. As such, Jupiter & Gran’s projects are well deserving of some extra attention and as soon as there’s a free lot and a client, everything is ready to go and we’ll be seeing this type of build elsewhere.
On their homepage, they write “We build detached apartment buildings or cohesive neighborhoods based on the same genuine, wood frame and consistently use organic materials. Our construction foundation is designed to allow for houses varying from two to five stories, with a variable number of apartments from three to five per floor, and with the possibility to adapt floor plans with ceiling heights starting from three meters or more. Our basic philosophy is natural and genuine.”
“We develop our collective professional knowledge and always let the joy of creativity make a mark on every house. Depending on the location and the wishes of the client, the houses are adapted with towers, balconies and verandas, color scheme, paintings, fragrances, choice of materials, and also local adaptations. On the ground floor, there is always room for different businesses – that’s how we want to build living and inspiring neighborhoods.”
Below you can see that Jupiter & Gran are planning to build in Sweden. Now all they need is a first buyer. Do you happen to have some land available in any Scandinavian city? Click here to follow the hyped developer Jupiter & Gran on Facebook!
5. Nygaardaplassen, Fredrikstad, Norway
Architect: Mad architects
Click here to read about the Norwegian competition. Built at what used to be a parking lot in the center of the Norwegian city Fredriksstad, this neighborhood draws its primary inspiration from Brooklyn, New York. The architects, however, opted for scale that works better with the human sentiment, adding warm materials and a great deal of variety. Thusly, they revitalized an empty lot into an inspiration for numerous similar lots around the country.
More information about each nordic country competition
- Click for Sweden
- Click for Norway
- Click för Denmark (most beautiful new building)
- Click för Denmark (most ugly new building)
- Click for Iceland
- Click for Finland