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Clarity of plan and vision: The Cathedral in Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur

The Cathedral Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur6

The bunker–like exterior of this inventor’s workshop for audiovisual design hides a light interior of wood and concrete

Shortlisted for the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture 2016

In 2014 Sweden introduced the Attefallshus, allowing owners of an existing house to construct an additional miniature house of up to 25m2 without planning permission. Celebrating this new freedom, Malmö’s Form/Design Center exhibited the work of 25 Swedish practices which responded to a brief that asked them to explore this new-found freedom.

The response from Petra Gipp Architektur, a small studio founded in 2009 by Petra Gipp, was The Wool House, a small experiment that in many ways established the ideas explored by all of the studio’s later projects. Uniting these ideas is a recurring preoccupation with membranes, layers and surfaces – how they are manipulated and interact. The Wool House explored the effect of plaster cast around a piece of wool and the negative rough space that would remain when the wool was removed, an idea revisited in the 2014 Venice Biennale installation Membrane.

‘As in all of Petra Gipp’s proposed and realised designs, it is the sheer clarity of plan and vision that allows material relationships to be all the more striking’

The Cathedral Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur

The Cathedral Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur

The Cathedral Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur3

The Cathedral Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur3

Source: Åke E:son Lindman

It may not always be so explicit, but the mediation of multiple states can be seen in The House on the Cliff – where two distinct volumes allow for a condition of vast openness and cellular sleeping areas – and at an information centre at Gunnar Asplund’s Woodland Cemetery, where four tower-like pitched structures demarcate a central space. Even the proposed extension to the Swedish National Archives sees orthogonal blocks partially wrapped in sheet metal, akin to the installation Knot co-created with composer Kim Hedås, which wrapped a concrete block in a bronze double of itself.

‘Materials used in the project could be seen as a response to the split nature of the site, along with a plan that wedges itself into the Science Park and opens out towards the natural landscape’

Plan of The Cathedral Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur

Plan of The Cathedral Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur

Ground floor plan of The Cathedral Linkoping

If there are two states at play in The Cathedral, referred to as ‘an inventor’s workshop for audiovisual design’ (not to be confused with the garden variety of cathedral), it is the materiality of the exterior – a monolithic, bunker-like construction covered entirely in rough tar paper with regimented, brooding openings – and its light interior of concrete and wood.

The Cathedral  Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur7

The Cathedral Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur7

Source: Åke E:son Lindman

The Cathedral Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur2

The Cathedral Linkoping Sweden by Petra Gipp Arkitektur2

Source: Åke E:son Lindman

A home for art and cultural events and located on the boundary between Mjärdevi Science Park and an area of untouched reed land, the materials used in the project could be seen as a response to the split nature of the site, along with a plan that wedges itself into the Science Park and opens out towards the natural landscape.

As in all of Petra Gipp’s proposed and realised designs, it is the sheer clarity of plan and vision that allows material relationships to be all the more striking.

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