Scan Magazine, Issue 136, November 2021

Page 75

Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  Nordic Architecture and Design – Sweden

because it is much more sustainable to reuse materials and structures when possible. As they say: the greenest building is one that already exists. “One thing we always want to do is preserve whatever we can. We’ll often use the basic structure of a building, and it does mean that you have to be much more involved in the project. With a new build, things are more predictable, but in an old building you can tear down the walls only to find that the supporting construction isn’t where you had thought it was. It requires agile thinking and more involvement in the project from our side,” says Gudmundson. “One thing we’re quite mindful of is to preserve not just the original build, but also any details that have been added during a time when they had a different view of building preservation. So a building may be from the late-18th century, and in the ‘70s they built an add-on. To us

that’s a part of history too, almost like the rings on a tree,” Englund adds. Caring for history Of course, attention to detail is also crucial when restoring and maintaining landmarks, which GAJD has been trusted to do across Sweden. Working closely with the National Property Board of Sweden as accredited architects, the firm undertakes a variety of projects in the many churches, castles and other historic buildings spread throughout the country. One notable project was the restoration of the internationally renowned Gothenburg Courthouse, originally by architect Gunnar Asplund in the 1930s, which had fallen into disuse. A project of that scale would always start off with thoroughly researching the building and possible solutions before committing to any work, and from start to finish it could take up to nine years. But it paid off, with

the firm being awarded the prestigious Helgo Award in 2018. Awarded by SFV every four years, the prize is a recognition of the value the firm continues to bring to public space. Not all restoration projects are as grandiose as that, however. “Often what’s interesting about restoration projects might be smaller details that don’t seem that interesting to a layperson. It could be, for example, a fireproof roof structure in Läckö Castle, which means that it will be safer going forward. So it might not be something visible that you can point to and show people what you’ve done, but it feels good to know you’re helping to preserve it for future generations.” With current and upcoming projects including Skansen Kronan and the Maritime Museum and Aquarium in Gothenburg, GAJD Architects is set to continue to shape the future of the West Coast and beyond. Web: Instagram: @gajdarkitekter

Top left: Nya Kasernen, an extensive renovation of an office building from the ‘70s in the centre of Gothenburg. Owner Alecta fastigheter. Visualisation in collaboration with Walk the Room. Bottom left: New restaurant in an old port warehouse in central Gothenburg. Visualisation: GAJD/ Råformat. Middle: The owners of GAJD in front of a new entrance to The Röhsska Museum of Design and Craft – Gertrud Gudmundson, Mikael Nädele and Magnus Englund. Photo: Cecilia Hallin. Right: Gothenburg Courthouse. GAJD performed an extensive restoration and interior design of Architect Gunnar Asplund’s world-famous building. Photo: Krister Engström

November 2021  |  Issue 136  |  75