Judging Buildings – House of Sweden

House of Sweden is located at 2900 K Street NW facing the Georgetown waterfront.

According to their Web site:

“House of Sweden has been awarded Sweden’s most prestigious architecture award; the Kasper Salin Prize for best building. Announced on the 16th of November 2007, the award is a testament to the work and creativity that has gone into creating this unique building.

Gert Wingårdh’s and Tomas Hansen’s design for House of Sweden – selected in competition – combines openness and transparency, unusual features in an embassy. It was designed specifically to foster an atmosphere of positive, creative cooperation between two great countries, and to create a base for cultural and commercial exchanges.

House of Sweden exemplifies the very best of signature Scandinavian simplicity, modernity, and unpretentious elegance, wedded to characteristic Swedish practicality and flexibility. It invites and inspires Swedes and Americans in an ongoing creative dialog.

Designed to rest like a shimmering jewel in the surrounding parkland, the blonde wood, stone, and glass structure is suffused with light, floating at night like an ethereal vision above its sparkling reflection in the Potomac River.
The building is light and airy, with large glass segments. Light is a key element, both outside and in. All around the body of the building is a belt of light, backlit wood, which after dark gives the sense that the building is floating. The House of Sweden stands on white pillars and is suffused with Nordic light. The materials are blonde wood, glass and stone, often in layers.”

You dig the style?

More shots after the jump.

13 Comment

  • I love this place! Not so spectacular on the outside, but it’s very cool and ultramodern and representative of Sweden on the inside. I like how they had a Swedish cultural exhibit the last time I went (not sure if it’s permanent, this was 3 years ago) and I love how the listed sponsors posted on the wall are Volvo, IKEA, and H&M (I think– if not, some other distinctly Swedish brand, maybe Skanska?)

  • Really cool building. The clean lines fit well with the Kennedy Center nearby and the building fits nicely into it’s setting. The rooftop has great views as well.

  • I used to be the weekend guide there and they always have tried to have cultural exhibits open to the public during the weekend. When people asked I always tried to give them a mini-tour of the building in order to show off some of the less obvious architectural elements. If they still do this, definitely ask the guide if they can show you around the building a bit.

    One of my favorite part was the running water as you go through the entrance. The flooring was designed to look like a Swedish rag rug to a nice effect.

    The building is composed of the embassy, a mix of offices and apartments, as well as to halls for exhibitions, concert and and other events. The apartments — at least the apartments I had seen — were amazing with incredible views of Rock Creek and the Potomac.

    And besides all that — it has got to have one of the best roof decks in the city.

  • Clear glass with great views and features everywhere, but taken a bit too far in the rest rooms.

  • I love its integration into the city, and lack of security measures that have turned so many other embassies into fortresses. Just compare this with the embassies in that gated compound in upper NW DC.

  • Almost makes me think it came with an assembly guide without words…

  • andy

    I heard you could take it apart with an allen wrench.

  • It’s better from a little distance, because the exterior “wood” grain looks rather cartoony up close.

    • Totally agree. I watched it being built from my office about 30 feet away a few years ago. It really looks like an Ikea building from up close (which I’m sure is intentional) but it’s fantastic from a bit farther away. Sadly, I still haven’t been inside (I no longer work next door).

  • The colonnade is a totally outdated and antiurban relic of the ’60s and ’70s. This thing wouldn’t be out of place at L’Enfant Plaza. Not into it.

  • austindc

    It’s a stunning building, but why are there still extra parts left over?

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