Temple for Hilma af Klint

Space Popular’s proposal for a museum to house the work of abstract painter Hilma af Klint 

 LocationStockholm, Sweden
 TypeCompetition
 Year2017
 StatusCompleted. Unawarded
 SPOPeopleLara Lesmes & Fredrik Hellberg


East Elevation
 
As a human being Hilma af Klint lived in a conservative time of empires and great wars, as a creator she operated in the future and as an intellectual she soared through and beyond the known into the supernatural. Her life and work was defined by contrasts: between the old and the new, the physical and the metaphysical, the corporal and the spiritual; states that were so polarizing in nineteenth century Sweden that she developed two lives lived in parallel universes. So distant were these realms that she asked for her groundbreaking work to be kept from public eyes until 20 years after her death, as she believed the world was not yet ready. It would take over 30 years until her work was shown internationally and over 70 years until it would get a permanent home. Our proposal for a Temple for Hilma af Klint on the island of Lidingö in Stockholm reflects the contrasts in her life both symbolically and materially by organizing diametrically opposing materials, construction systems and references in layers leading towards the formless and the immaterial. With deep roots of solid granite, erupted from the earth gradually forming columns and arches in rough cyclopean masonry it is with immense weight and mass structurally anchored, both physically and figuratively, yet separated from the temple by a thin and light space-frame of mathematical perfection. This paradoxical combination of structures together form the foundations upon which a polychromic timber frame structure of playful proportions and romantic references rests. Af Klint grew up in a time when in Sweden large wooden houses were erected with increasing amounts of intricacy and formal variation often with spacious verandas facing the water. The timber temple floating on rods of metal  is a direct reference to these wooden houses with its expressive structure, covered verandas and pitched roofs. 

Programmatically the building is split in five discrete layers. At the very top, the pitched roof guards af Klints archive, with over 1,200 paintings, writings and sketches. The fifth level features a large open space where the public can view af Klint’s work as well as the water and landscape surrounding the building. Offices and restoration workshops lie one floor below within the oversized balcony, together with a coffee and museum shops. Underneath, directly accessed from the ground floor, is an archival exhibition area with over 100 selected paintings, and at the basement, separated by a non-enclosed space-frame, is a public bathing area with changing rooms, saunas and other facilities for the neighbourhood. 
 

Plans


View east from the water on a winter morning

View west towards the main entrance from the main road (Islingehamns Vägen) 

View south west on a summer evening.