THEN – HISTORY
Kungsholmen has undergone several major transformations in recent history. The second half of the 19th century saw the development of large city blocks with residential buildings made of stone, which still remain today.
THE GROWING CITY
During the first half of the 20th century, the factory buildings of the industrial era began to disappear and were gradually replaced by public institutions and new housing. To meet the rapid population growth, Fredhäll and Kristineberg were constructed according to the functionalist model of urban planning. The Stockholm subway system was inaugurated in 1950 and Kungsholmen was included two years later when the line was extended towards the suburb Vällingby. Another line with stops in Kungsholmen was added at a later stage. Due to the post-war economic upswing, the character of central Stockholm was transformed at a furious pace during the 1960s. As people poured in from the countryside, new housing was developed alongside multistorey parking garages and office buildings to fulfill the demands of modern life.
The Construction of the Trygg Hansa property
During the same period, the Swedish insurance industry experienced several consolidations. Through a large-scale merger between different insurance companies in the 1960s and early 1970s, the new insurance giant Trygg Hansa was formed, a corporate group spread across 14 offices. To integrate business operations, the company acquired the Brädstapeln site, at that time a parking lot. The Tengbom architectural firm was hired to oversee the new construction. Together with a committee consisting of Trygg Hansa management and staff, the architects traveled to Germany and the United States to study the latest trends in office design. They returned to Sweden with new impressions and the ambition to create something out of the ordinary. The chief architects Anders Tengbom and Stefan Salomon jointly drew up a building proposal in the then prevailing architectural style of brutalism. The park and rooftop gardens were designed by Stockholm’s head gardener, Holger Blom. The first steps in the process of constructing the Trygg Hansa property had been taken.
A COMPREHENSIVE PROPOSAL
Tengbom and Salamon wanted to create a place of work which also enabled employees to carry out their day-to-day activities. As a result, the comprehensive architectural proposal included not only office space, but also shops, a bank, and a post office. After twelve years at the drawing board, four years of construction, and nine storeys later, the building complex was finally completed. In 1976, the Social Democratic Minister of Finance, Gunnar Sträng, inaugurated what was then considered one of the most lavish office buildings in Sweden. The Stockholm City Museum eventually blue-listed Brädstaplen, which means it is deemed to be of exceptional architectural and historical interest—a Swedish monument to brutalist functionalism.
Martin Rörby, a Swedish architectural historian, discusses the architecture of Brädstapeln and the concept of brutalism.
Blue listing is the highest classification of culturally and historically important architecture. On the website of the Stockholm City Museum (Stadsmuseet), there is detailed information on the different listings of the city’s buildings ›
Brutalism is an architectural style characterized by the use of raw concrete, and where the technical and functional requirements of a building determine its design. Read more about brutalism ›