The new city hall will be one of the first buildings in the revamped city centre and an important key structure in the revitalised cityscape. Kiruna Municipality is therefore inviting entries to an architecture competition to design a new city hall. The competition, which will be run by Kiruna Municipality in conjunction with the Swedish Associa- tion of Architects (Sveriges Arkitekter), will begin with a pre-qualification phase after which five competitors will be selected. These five will then submit proposals for the design of the new City Hall. The remit of the competition is to design the new City Hall, and its surrounding land, in ac- cordance with agreed objectives. The intention is that the winning architect, after completing negotiations with the client/developer, will be engaged to work on designing the new City Hall.
Kiruna’s current City Hall is the result of a similar architecture competition held in 1958. In a hard-fought battle, Alvar Aalto’s ”Aurora Borealis” lost out to Artur von Schmalensee’s ”Igloo”, which was finally realised. In making its decision, the jury stated that “Igloo” had been chosen on the basis of “its practical and artistic merits, and the signifi- cant level of comfort it afforded”.
Early on during the subsequent planning phase, Schma- lensee sought the help of leading artists to assist in the design of both the interior and exterior of the building. The result was a building reminiscent of an enclosed residence with a single central room, a beacon of security and warmth in a harsh Arctic environment. The City Hall was inaugurated in 1963, receiving the Kasper Salin Prize the following year for being a “Swedish building of a high architectural standard”. In 2001, the County Administrative Board awarded the structure historic building status.
Because of the extent of mining in the area, it will only be possible to use the building for a few more years. The deformations in the ground will make its continued use im- possible. Moving the building is not regarded as being a via- ble option. This is due to a number of factors, including its size, design, complexity and movement route. It has been decided that a new building to replace the existing structure must be ready to move into by the end of 2016. On 4 May 2012, Norrbotten County Administrative Board decided to change the protection provisions on the current structure, altering its historic building status. The decision will ensure that the conceptual and material structure of the building remains protected. Based on the major historical significance of the building and the parts of the structure that are protected by the provisions of the Swedish Ancient Monuments and Finds Act, the County Administrative Board has made a selection of which items/features are to be removed from the existing building and re-erected in the new structure, and which items are to be rebuilt. Kiruna Municipality is contesting this decision as it is not in line with the objectives set in respect of the characteristics of the new building. At time of writing, this matter has yet to be resolved.
In a decision of the Municipal Coun- cil date 22 February 2010, Kiruna Municipality set out its vision for the new City Hall. This was based on the “Vision 2099” document, which des- cribes the Municipality’s aims for the regenerated city. The document was adopted by the Council in 2004. The vision specifies, in general terms, how the new City Hall is to be designed, which functions it is to have and what core values it is to be imbued with. Among other things, the following is addressed: The building must be characterised by sustainability, having a low service life impact in respect of economy, the environment, health & safety, accessi- bility, energy and social aspects. The project must be imbued with a sense of curiosity, new solutions, new technology and demonstrate the pos- sibilities for sustainable building and management in a cold climate. The building must be designed so that the positive characteristics of the current structure are retained or enhanced. The concept of the “Kiruna resi- dents’ living room” must live on in the new building. The building must be of an archi- tectural quality that at least matches that of the existing structure and be a key feature and important part of the new cityscape. When designing the new City Hall, it must be possible to re-use parts, components and materials where de- emed to be architecturally, technically and practically justifiable. Material from the current City Hall may also be re-used for a new purpose or in another building. Functions that, from a municipal perspective, are regarded as being management-critical must be brought under one roof in order to strengthen common development. The building must afford new opportunities for a modern, efficient and future-oriented organisation and operation. It must be possible to adapt the building for new tasks and to accom- modate an organisation that is in a continual process of change without the need for any extensive remodelling. Common areas, such as meeting rooms and staff rooms, must be included to the extent required by a modern organisation and working environment. The land and building must be designed in such a way that it can be connected to other social functions through extension or the construction of freestanding buildings. Important core values are openness and accessibility to local residents, sustainability and flexibility.