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Turning Torso
Turning Torso in Malmö is a neo-futurist residential skyscraper – and the tallest building in Scandinavia.
Photo credit: Highshot

Discover the best of Swedish architecture

Swedish architecture is a multifaceted affair, giving you a glimpse into the local life of specific locations up and down the country – from Malmö and Gothenburg in the south to Jämtland and Sundsvall further north.

Many of Sweden’s most notable buildings – spanning modern architecture and historic landmarks – can be explored externally, giving you the freedom to visit at your leisure. Here are some highlights of Swedish architecture, from south to north.

Malmö

Turning Torso

Towering at 190 metres, Malmö’s eye-catching Turning Torso is Scandinavia’s tallest building. Designed in neo-futurist style by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, this 54-floor skyscraper features over 2,300 windows. It’s powered exclusively by locally produced renewable energy and houses both apartments and offices. Thanks to its central Västra Hamnen (West Harbour) location, this striking piece of architecture is now a well-recognised landmark for the city of Malmö.

Malmö Stadsbibliotek (Malmö City Library)

The historic Malmö Stadsbibliotek (Malmö City Library), located next to Malmö slott (Malmö palace) and its elegant gardens, was given a modernist makeover in 1997 courtesy of Danish architect Henning Larsen. The glass-walled structure – suitably called “Calendar of Light” – offers fine views over the surrounding parkland.

World Maritime University

The World Maritime University moved into a new home in 2015, and a distinctive one at that. Conceived by architecture practices Terroir and Kim Utzon Arkitekter, the building is defined by its shard-like facade, made from aluminium and glass. This must-see example of Swedish architecture is located a few minutes’ walk from Malmö Central Station.

Gamla Väster

The historic city district of ‘Gamla Väster’ is awash with fascinating buildings – from the 16th century palace, Kockska Huset and the equally elegant Faxerska Huset, built in the 1760s, to the distinctive Jugendhuset of 1895 – Malmö’s first Art Noveau-inspired building. A good starting point is the centrally located Stortorget square.

Triangeln

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to a spacecraft – or luminous whale – the underground railway station Triangeln is a piece of modern architecture that combines form and function. Designed by Sweco Architects and KHR Arkitekter, this busy commuter hub has two cave-shaped entrances at street level constructed entirely with a glazing system that enables light to flood the platforms 25 metres below ground.

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Turning Torso

The residential area Västra Hamnen (West Harbour) and the building Turning Torso captured from Ribersborg beach in Malmö.

Photo: Fredrik Johansson

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Turning Torso

Photo: Fredrik Johansson

Turning Torso

Photo: Silvia Man/imagebank.sweden.se

Malmö City Library

Photo: Malmö turism

World Maritime University

Photo: Mark Syke

World Maritime University

Photo: Mark Syke

Gamla Väster

Photo: Miriam Preis/imagebank.sweden.se

Triangeln Railway Station

Photo: Linda Söndergaard

Triangeln Railway Station

Photo: Folio Images

Gothenburg

Kuggen

Designed by renowned Swedish architect firm Gert Wingårdh, Kuggen is best described as a piece of modern architecture with a renaissance twist. This distinctive, cylindrical building features a raft of high-tech features, including a mosaic of glazed terracotta panels that change colour depending on the light. Kuggen is part of Chalmers University of Technology and can be found at Gothenburg’s Lindholmsplatsens square.

Allmänna bastun and Jubileumsparken (the sauna in Frihamnen and Jubileum park)

Gothenburg’s Frihamnen area on the island of Hisingen – nestling across the river from the city centre – is home to a most eye-catching sauna. Dreamed up by German architect collective “raumlaborberlin”, the angular edifice is primarily made from recycled material – some 12,000 recycled bottles went into the making of the changing room alone. Both the sauna and the surrounding Jubileumsparken (Jubileum Park) have been created in celebration of Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary in 2021.

Rådhuset (Gothenburg Town Hall)

A functionalist extension was added to Gothenburg’s historic town hall in 1937, courtesy of architect Gunnar Asplund. Some considered the modernising of a grand building – dating back to 1672 – sacrilege at the time, while others deemed it a stroke of genius. You’ll find this world-renowned building in Gustaf Adolf’s square.

Palmhuset (the Palm House)

Appearing almost otherworldly amidst the greenery of The Garden Society of Gothenburg’s 19th century park, the gleaming Palmhuset, built in 1878, is constructed entirely from glass and cast iron. Inspired by London’s famous Crystal Palace, Gothenburg’s much-loved version houses plants – including several varieties of palm trees – from across the globe.

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Kuggen in Gothenburg

Kuggen (The Cog) is the centre for innovation and entrepreneurship at Chalmers University of Technology.

Photo: Superstudio D&D AB/Göteborg & Co

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Kuggen in Gothenburg

Photo: Superstudio D&D AB/Göteborg & Co

The public sauna in Frihamnen, Gothenburg

Photo: Anna Hållams

The public sauna, Gothenburg

Photo: Peter Kvarnström/Göteborg & Co

Public sauna

Photo: Anna Hållams/imagebank.sweden.se

The Gothenburg Town Hall

Photo: Krister Engström

Rådhuset (Gothenburg Town Hall)

Photo: Peter Kvarnström/Göteborg & Co

Palmhuset in Gothenburg

Photo: Peter Kvarnström/Göteborg & Co

Palmhuset in Gothenburg

Photo: Peter Kvarnström

Uppsala

Juvelen (the Jewel)

Arriving by train at Uppsala, Juvelen is hard to miss. Designed by Swedish architects Utopia and completed in 2019, this six-floor landmark is one of Scandinavia’s most sustainable office buildings, featuring green energy solutions and a raft of other innovations within its shimmering gem-like walls.

Uppsala Konsert & Kongress (Uppsala Concert and Congress)

Designed by Henning Larsen studio and inaugurated in 2007, Uppsala Konsert & Kongress is a cultural hub playing host to all manner of events. Housed in a distinctive building, featuring a crystal-like facade made up of reflective metal-plates, it is easy to get to by public transport thanks to its central location at square Vaksala torg.

Humanistiska Teatern

A public forum with a difference, Humanistiska Teatern is a subtly gleaming, horseshoe-shaped building. Designed by White Arkitekter studio, it’s been created using some 300 perforated aluminium sheets. The amphitheatre-style space allows everyone in the auditorium to see and hear one another exceptionally well, and a 32 square metre interactive screen enables participants in other parts of the world to join in digitally. The building, which opened its doors in 2018, is part of Uppsala University, and is located by Engelska parken (the English Park) in the centre of town.

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Juvelen in Uppsala

Painting of Juvelen (the Jewel), a shimmering landmark of Uppsala.

Photo: Johan Alp

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Juvelen in Uppsala

Photo: Johan Alp

Juvelen (the Jewel)

Photo: Tina Axelsson/imagebank.sweden.se

Uppsala Concert and Congress

Photo: Tor Johnsson

Humanistiska Teatern

Photo: Stewen Quigley

Jämtland

Wilhelm Peterson-Berger’s Sommarhagen

The home of late Swedish composer Wilhelm Peterson-Berger was built in 1914 as per his design in national romantic style. During summer, the house serves as a museum home, but it’s worth a visit even when it’s not officially open as you get to admire the distinctive architecture as well as the spectacular mountain views the composer so cherished. Take the opportunity to visit Frösö Kyrka (Frösö Church), a 10-minute walk up the hill from Sommarhagen, where Peterson-Berger has been laid to rest. Sommarhagen is 15 minutes by bus from the city of Östersund.

Jamtli Historieland (Jamtli Historyland)

Jamtli Historieland, the open-air museum of Östersund’s Jamtli Museum, is a couple of blocks from the city centre. During summertime, you can wander the vast area to discover authentically rendered representations of historic environments, complete with farmyard animals, authentically-dressed actors and genuine buildings. You’ll find Swedish architecture as diverse as 18th century homesteads to 1970s villas.

Östersunds Rådhus (Östersund Town Hall)

Standing proud in Östersund’s city centre, Östersund Town Hall is an imposing landmark built in 1912 by architect Frans Bertil Wallberg. National romantic in style, the building towers at 51 metres and features a decorative onion dome. You’ll find this monumental building just a short walk up from Östersund train station.

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Wilhelm Peterson-Berger’s Sommarhagen

The music hall in Sommarhagen, the home of Wilhelm Peterson Berger in Östersund.

Photo: Roger Strandberg

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Wilhelm Peterson-Berger’s Sommarhagen

Photo: Roger Strandberg

Jamtli Historyland

Photo: Tina Stafrén

Östersund Town Hall

Photo: Roger Strandberg

Östersund Town Hall

Photo: Göran Strand

Sundsvall

Stone City rooftops

The spectacular Stone City (Stenstan) of Sundsvall can be experienced by joining a historic rooftop tour. This guided tour offers sweeping cityscape views along with interesting facts about the city’s grandest neighbourhood, built entirely in stone at the end of the 19th century during Sundsvall’s industrial expansion. From a 25 metre high vantage point, you’ll also get the chance to take a closer look at some of the elegant spires and towers.

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Rooftop tour in Sundsvall

A tour with a unique view of Sundsvall's Stone City (Stenstan).

Photo: Aktivera

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Rooftop tour in Sundsvall

Photo: Aktivera

The Stone City in Sundsvall

Photo: Olle Melkerhed