Modernizing the smart Östermalm district
Astoriahuset, which literally translates as “Astoria House,” is a historical neo-Renaissance-style building built in Stockholm in 1873 by engineer Julius Frosell. The construction of the building took place parallel to the larger reconstruction of an area previously occupied by rustic buildings and farms. This gave birth to what later became Östermalm, the smartest and most affluent neighborhood in the city. Frosell’s building reflected the stylistic ideals of the time, which aimed to give the city a European character but an innate Nordic spirit.
The building, which takes its name from the Astoria Cinema that operated here until 2007, has undergone extensive renovation, with the project put together by 3XN. This involved the historical building being joined to an expansion of the neighboring Nybrogatan 17 building.
Located on the corner of Nybrogatan and Sofi Alquists Plats, this new architectural complex will house offices, homes, and a restaurant.
The architectural style of Östermalm played a significant role in defining the new construction next to Astoriahuset. Inspired by the colors and austerely European character of the adjacent buildings, the architects created a façade that dialogues with its setting and completes its architectural meaning. Beginning with the lines that define the contours and features of Astoriahuset’s façade – that is, the string courses, the line of the eaves, the lintels, and the window sills – they produced a design that’s defined by a geometric rhythm, an interplay of solids and voids, and alternating full-height openings screened by geometrically patterned metal sunscreens. Finished with a distinctive handmade brick with a very dark, very contemporary terracotta tone, the sunscreens are transformed into solid elements of the façade.
In terms of volumes, the transition between the two buildings is seamless: the façade of Nybrogatan 17 transforms into a roof, gently sloping from vertical to 45 degrees to align with the roof of the historic building.
Nybrogatan 17 will house offices. These have been designed according to the modern idea that architectural and environmental quality can create great benefits for the users of a space, especially work spaces.
The building entrance is defined by a monumental marble staircase, which spirals its way up to the top floor, creating a void that’s illuminated from above by a large skylight – a striking effect that encourages people to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Nybrogatan 17 offers both traditional office spaces and coworking environments. The latter are designed to help foster communication and innovation by opening the doors to different ways of working and opportunities for spontaneous interaction.
Once housing a cinema as well as offices on the upper levels, the interiors of this historical building have been entirely overhauled. At ground level, where the cinema was located, a restaurant has been built, accessed via the spectacular foyer. On the upper floors, 18 apartments have been created, designed in a classically sober, minimalist style.
The complex injects new life into one of the city’s chicest neighborhoods. As Audun Opdal, senior partner at 3XN, says, “Urban development and transformation are endless processes, and the key is to make the city’s past connect with its future through form and a coherent architectural identity.”
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Local Architect: Doos Architects, JOYN Studio
Built Up Area: 9.000m2
General Contractor: UPB
Structural Engineering: WASP
MEP: Vimini AB
Façade Consultant: Westins Fönsterteknik AB
Sustainability/Environment: Miljökonsult Sofie Åberg
Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj, courtesy of 3XN