Learnings from Borlänge

School Yvette Putra More

My approach was grounded in three concepts: first, the Swedish Grace aesthetic, which is, to my mind, an elegantly restrained interpretation of Classicism; second, the regional setting of Borlänge, which should not be seen as a detraction; and, third, the project’s scholastic programme and what this means in a universal sense, as places of higher education are, frequently, destinations for individuals from across the globe.

I looked to the precedent of the tripartite palazzo façade, to convey perpetuity and reliability. I abstracted the typical palazzo rustication and fenestration, and added porticos to delineate the entrances. But the steeply pitched roof reflects climatic conditions that are far removed from the birthplace of the palazzo type. Another link to the local context is the window members that are rendered in iron, to recall Borlänge’s historical role in iron production. Further iron elements are the allegorical sculptures at the apexes of the porticos, whose iconography may be, perhaps, a little too straightforward, but my intention was for them to be widely interpretable. And the acroteria are surmounted by iron ornaments, whose form arose out of a conversation that I had with a fellow student, Ylva. She had mentioned that the province flower is the harebell, so I incorporated this native and proudly bucolic symbol into the characteristically organic Classical ornamentation.

The design was conceived and droughted in a matter of days, and I aimed to do justice to the city. The challenge was in applying Classicism to a locality with its own history and identity, to make the design, as much as possible, uniquely of Borlänge. I hope that I achieved even a small measure of this.

Postscript: I owe much to the tutors who guided me in my endeavours, for not only bringing their experience and knowledge, but in being generous and patient.