Last week I traveled through southern Norway and Sweden. Since it was my first visit to Scandinavia, I decided to get a broad sense of the place, rather than work on a specific project. The below photographs are a few of my favorite images of city landscapes that are/were especially important for each city’s past and future. I’ve tried to include a balance of highly visible and less public places.
Even though Göteborg had the longest daylight hours of any of the cities I visited, the two times I visited the city were cloudy and dark. The first of these three photographs is raumlabor‘s Sauna in Frihamnen (“Bathing Culture Goteborg”) project. The building opened in 2014 as the first step of the city’s plan to redevelop one of the last remaining (post-)industrial harbor slips. The other photographs are of the Drottningtorget and the downtown pedestrian zone.
I was disappointed to only have one evening of snow on the trip, but the falling snow gave Oslo an etherial quality, softening the buildings and brightening the night sky. Buildings like the Uranienborg Church almost floated above the residential streets that surround them. By morning, the snow turned to a light rain, and I headed to the Norse Folkemuseum to see the Gol Stave Church. The church was built circa 1212 in Gol, Norway and moved to the grounds of the folk museum in the late 1880s after the townspeople built a new church and planned to demolish this one. Later in the day, I visited the Oslo Opera House, a Snøhetta-designed building completed in 2007 that is the anchor of the redeveloping central Oslo waterfront.
The city of Örebro is about two hours from Stockholm on the highway from Oslo. I stopped there to see an especially old castle and to visit the Svampen, a nearly 200 foot tall water tower with an observation deck and restaurant. Recently renovated, the tower offers excellent views of the development patterns of the smaller city.
Of course, there’s more to see in Stockholm than a few photographs can convey, but I was especially impressed by the older portions of the city. A highlight of the trip was touring the early 20th century Stockholm City Hall and its spectacular mosaics. Even if its Golden Hall is overwhelmingly decorated, the room’s mosaics are somehow both whimsical and straightforward, with grand symbolism and matter of fact representations of once-contemporary life. The other two photographs provide views of the Gamla Stan, one from the City Hall, and the other on the island, with tourists in front of the Obelisk at Slottsbacken and buildings including the Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral.
Jönköping Region, Sweden
Between Stockholm and Goteborg are the ruins of the Brahehus Castle, a 17th century home designed as a country retreat. High on a bluff overlooking Lake Vättern, the building has sat all but abandoned since the early 18th century.
Back in the Air
I can’t help but conclude with a photograph from my Stockholm to Chicago flight. Since the flight departed in the early evening, we witnessed a sunset that lasted nearly eight hours. This was the view over the Canadian Torngat Mountains.