Welcome to the Stage!

Kjellander Sjöberg, together with Henning Larsen, formed one of the seven teams selected to participate in the architecture competition for the Stockholm University of Arts’ (SKH) new building in the Slakthusområdet district. The proposal titled ‘Place on stage!’ is based on three objectives: an artistic epicenter, an open invitation, a destination and a node. The vision was to create a building where the SKH and the city meet, where backstage becomes front of house, and where the artistic development process is positioned in a constructive and ever-changing dialogue with the society, the surroundings and people of various backgrounds and life situations.

Artistic epicenter

The new performing arts school invites for a joint creation, artistic curiosity and an open dialogue. The building becomes a contemporary addition to the characteristic industrial landscape of the Slakthusområdet district, creating a bridge between history and future, the site-specific and universal. The proposal is a transparent interpretation of the surrounding industrial warehouses combined with stage design structures, promoting new standards for creative learning by making the artistic process transparent, where rehearsal rooms and public spaces become a unified experience.

Public performance spaces inspired by the surrounding historic Art Nouveau abattoirs
Creative school environment bringing the educational process into focus and transforming backstage into main stage
Spaces for interaction and reflection using textiles, art and greenery as the fundamental elements creating identity in the common rooms

Tectonic framework

Inspired by spaces backstage, the architectural expression and the structure of the proposal are one and the same, forming a design based on tectonics, an honest building we can learn from, understand and which does not exploit natural resources more than necessary. The proposal is based on simple structural principles, using repetition and modularity, employing a timber-concrete hybrid construction system minimising its carbon footprint to the greatest extent possible. Selecting a concrete loadbearing structure for the large scale, technically complex spaces and a timber frame for the smaller rooms, a clear division between the fixed and permanent part of the school is created, providing a framework for change. As a part of the environmental sustainability strategy, the brick from the existing industrial buildings is reused as the outer shell of the larger spaces to also preserve the history and heritage of the site.

Open invitation

The school should clearly communicate it is open for everyone, defining its entrance as a public space under a roof, inspired by the characteristic older industrial warehouses of the Slakthusområdet area. Such approach enhances the distinct local character with streets seamlessly extending into open warehouses, standing on the unifying district industrial paving stretching from the square inside the school entrance creating an open, inclusive and accessible platform for the school’s operations where students and visitors meets.

The specific urban fabric of the Slakthusområdet with long streets running north to south is taken into consideration in the placement of the large spaces, forming a small block between the Slakthusgatan and the extension of Rökerigatan running through the building.

The transparent foyers of the school act as spaces for open rehearsals and performances where the stage can open up to the city as well as the rest of the school. The facades are fitted with large industrial doors to access stage workshops and foyers to allow for activities to move outdoors to the street. The massing of the building steps down towards the square to create a forecourt that can be used as a combined stage, workplace and a dining area.