Karlstad, Sweden


The Varmland Regional Museum by Cyrillus Johansson (1926-1929). Where one might have expected the architect to closely follow a local architectural idiom Johansson chose to follow his strong interest in Chinese architecture. The building is built upon a mound of earth scooped out from the axial reflecting pool. The arch is, with the reflecting pool, one element along a conceptual axis joining the railway station on one side and a bend in the river on the other side of the building. The use of the axis as a sort of long void passing through the building gives this apparently closed form a wider significance in the town. Despite the Chinese overtones the building is unmistakably Swedish in the simplicity of the whole form and the articulation of its details.

Posted in Kil, Sweden

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2 Responses to Karlstad, Sweden

  1. Eamonn Canniffe says:

    The ‘chinese’ character of this building evokes another great Swedish architect Sir William Chambers, who was responsible for introducing the chinese taste into Britain in the eighteenth century with the publication of his designs for buildings, pagodas and furniture based on his own experience of Canton. Did his work provide the ‘Kew’ for this late example of the style? Given the lateness of its date one cannot help but wonder what recent British cities would have been like if the post-war generation had, instead of pursuing Scandinavian functionalism, followed the ‘suedo-chinois’ route.

  2. Catriona Potts says:

    Hi Eamonn, wish you were here!

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