But has the recession won the war?..
Lord Norman Foster has beaten off competition from Jean Nouvel and Mia Hägg, Carl Nyrén, Gert Wingårdhs and BIG’s Bjarke Ingels, to win the Slussen regeneration competition for Stockholm. Foster + Partners worked together with Berg Arkitektkontor, part of C.F. Møller Architects, to create the winning design for Slussen's waterfront which will become the new centre of activity in the district.
The Slussen regeneration is part of Stockholm’s Vision 2030 initiative which encompasses the regeneration of several areas of the city as well as incorporating numerous social and economic advancements. After 70 years of wear and tear, it was decided in 2007 that the Slussen locks area be renovated and reconstructed creating new links with Stadsgården and Skeppsbron and driving activity to the area.
For so long separated by a maze of roads and acres of concrete, the two waterfronts will be stitched together by a new footbridge and the historic lock will be revealed once more. But while Foster's revised masterplan 're-establishes the waterfront to give Södermalm a new face', compared to the original designs, it appears to be a much more anonymous one.
In the original imagery the bridge design provided a dramatic feature, swooping outwards towards both sides of the river with four sections folding into one. The latest images show the removal of two of the bridge arms leaving a minimal, some may say characterless, walkway abridging the river. While the new design will undoubtedly deliver the regenerational attributes of a busy urban quarter with new public squares, waterfront promenades and spaces for retail and hotels, the amended designs lose the signature of the development both as a pedestrian haven and as a Foster icon. When questioned whether the changes were based on economical or design factors, Foster + Partners advised that the changes were resulting from 'analysis and further input from specialist consultants'. Not denying the input of financial restriction, the changes beg the question: has the recession killed the icon?..
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