Professor Christer Malmström wins the Kasper Salin Award!

At the Architectural Gala in Stockholm on March 10, the prestigious Kasper Salin Award was awarded to the renowned climate-smart residential building Brf Viva in Gothenburg.

– Publicerad den 24 March 2020

The Kasper Salin Award was awarded for the best building of the year 2019. LTH's professor Christer Malmström won, through Malmström Edström Architects Engineers and the client Riksbyggen for their housing project Brf Viva in Guldheden, Gothenburg.

Why did you take on the challenge of drawing residential buildings at Guldheden?

“The densification of society is usually done by looking up flat surfaces, and building away surfaces that we could use for other purposes. Gothenburg is full of hills and valleys, and we should choose a site that no one considers a site for development, or a recreation area. The site that we chose slopes in a way that we could hardly move in the terrain. We said that we should take on the most difficult challenge and see if it can be solved - and as it seems, it was worth a try, says Christer Malmström.

You are not only a practicing architect, you are also a professor of architecture: what does the award mean for the academic architecture world?

- First of all, it gives a good reputation to the academy, but above all it transfers current knowledge from society into the realm of students, researchers and teachers - and it is needed in the same way that researchers and students gets involved outside the school. The interplay is extremely important. Of course, if something is awarded at national level it has a certain weight, and we should be proud and happy. After all, I sit on two chairs, I get enormously inspired when I sit on my academic chair for things that I can implement in practice.

At a time when many consider themselves experts in social media - how can architects communicate to create an understanding of their challenges? 

- It is difficult to have a direct debate if someone has made a statement about your particular project, a kind of self-defense, while what you have to deal with must be reasonably serious, which is not always the case. Me and many here at school are out in the community, but I believe that one should be proactive - not defend but precede the debate. There are a lot of questions about the physical environment and we have to get involved because of the challenges we have today. We have a climate crisis, but we have become very good at energy issues, a pioneering country. But we must not forget that mankind may not feel as good as we had wished, regardless of the climate. The social issues, integration, segregation, loneliness - people are not being seen today. If I draw stairwells that are fireproof and soundproof, I will not meet my neighbors. I don't even hear them coming home. Thus, architecture can prevent meetings and conversely, architecture can promote meetings. And the awarded project has taken this seriously - as there are no stairwells, says Christer Malmström.

Motivation for the award

“A large register of architectural qualities - sense of form, tactility and variations in space and light - is characteristic of the project. The site's demanding conditions are turned by skilled volume treatment into an asset where private and public are arranged and linked together by sequences of well-designed, surprising spatial experiences, both inside and outside. With high ambition and great care about both the meeting between buildings and landscapes and the residents, Brf Viva is an inspiring role model. ”

Read more about the project at Malmström Edström's website and about the award at https://www.arkitekt.se/vinnare-av-kasper-salin-priset-2019/ (in Swedish)

See the whole interview with Christer Malmström (link to Facebook, in Swedish)