LUND (SE) - It all began with an open international competition in 2004 for a visitors' centre for Lund's cathedral. The winner was Carmen Izquierdo, who is Spanish but lives in Sweden. Then the project was put on hold for a couple of years.
Now that it is accomplished, the programme is bigger (more office space, for example) and the original scheme has been revised – that is, made bolder, especially as far as form is concerned. The building is unlike any other to be seen in the older parts of the university town of Lund. Most of the buildings there are of stone and date back several centuries. The new addition sets itself apart with a gold-shimmering brass facade, entirely covered with generously proportioned expanses of fixed glazing and windows.
At the same time, the building is contextually rooted, filling what for a long time had been a gaping hole in the city next to the old cathedral. Really filling it. Jerked out of context, this building would make a remarkably amorphous impression. Looking out onto three streets, it presents a different face to each of them, as if taking on a persona. It addresses three different situations: one faces the cathedral, with a skylight sticking out, or pointing, toward the house of worship; one to the rear, where the facade folds inwards to form a meeting point; and finally, one to the front, where the entire facade is pulled back to create a spacious, welcoming entrance.
Stepping inside, one meets with a contrast. No longer the warmth of yellow gold but an atmosphere of monastic asceticism, as almost everything is white. The colour of the site-cast concrete frame has been made lighter, as well as the concrete floors. And one floor up, where the offices are located, the oak floors are brightly pigmented.
This brightness is connected with the centre being fundamentally a deep and murky building – the light has to be imported. Most of the rooms, accordingly, face outwards toward the facades. In the middle of the building, a three-storey indoor atrium opens upward, for supplementary top lighting. (Tomas Lauri)
Colour, Metal |