Past and present come together at Gasverket

Gasverket Hus 8 in Stockholm has been extensively renovated. The design studio Strategisk Arkitektur was in charge of the redesign of the old coal building, which now houses Berghs School of Communication. Different types of Troldtekt acoustic solutions have been installed in the historic premises.

Photo: Bara Bild

The building Hus 8 is situated in Stockholm’s gasworks district, and was previously used for cleaning coal gas. The process released various toxic substances, and the whole district has therefore been empty for decades. This needed changing. The Municipality of Stockholm is keen to breathe new life into the old gasworks district, and the renovation of Hus 8 is thus part of a large-scale urban redevelopment programme.

The design studio Strategisk Arkitektur was commissioned to redesign Hus 8, with a team comprising Göran Ekeroth, Kerstin Heijde, Peter Morander and Jacob Star.

“The renovation project highlights the building’s existing materials and qualities. The new elements are clear add-ons to the existing building, and include, for example, a main entrance, modern technical installations and an improved indoor climate while the large open floor plan provides flexibility and the possibility of having different creative spaces.  All the added features give the building a new lease of new life and ensure its long-term future,” says Göran Ekeroth, customer manager for the project.

Following the renovation work, Hus 8 now complies with the sustainability requirements of the Sweden Green Building Council with regard to its indoor climate, which has been gold-classified. Gasverket Hus 8 also won the Stockholm Builders Association’s ROT-prisen 2021, which is awarded each year to a renovation project in Stockholm that distinguishes itself by respecting the original style of buildings combined with long-term sustainability.

New and preservation-worthy 

Today, Gasverket houses Berghs School of Communication in Hus 8. But a lot needed doing before the teachers and students could move in.

Before it was even possible to start the renovation work, all traces of chemical substances and environmentally hazardous waste had to be removed. However, this was not the only challenge, explains project manager Kerstin Heijde:

“At the start of the project, we were looking at what was basically an empty shell. At the same time, the building was listed as highly worthy of preservation by Stockholm City Museum, which entailed a number of restrictions on what we could do, both outside and inside. Moreover, according to the local plan, part of the entrance level also had to be publicly accessible.”

The exterior walls, windows and walkways were therefore treated extremely gently to preserve the building’s cultural-historical value. 

“Our collaboration with the antiquarian and all the other parties throughout the process was wonderful. The aim was to create a modern building which lived up to all applicable indoor climate, accessibility, fire safety and energy consumption standards. And all this had to be balanced with the heritage values and the listed status of the building to preserve the building’s existing architecture while ensuring its long-term future.”

Troldtekt a visually cohesive element

A key focus was the relationship between the existing and new parts of the building, explains Jacob Star, who was also part of the team:

“The idea was that any new add-ons should be clearly distinct from the existing structure. In other words, the new elements should not be too historic in style. At the same time, it was important that they should not dominate the existing architecture, but contribute to creating a coherent whole.”

In order to create a connection between the modern and the inherent industrial design while ensuring good acoustics in the large high-ceilinged rooms, Troldtekt acoustic panels were installed.

Spread over 700 square metres, both black, white and grey-painted Troldtekt acoustic panels were chosen, as well as specially produced Troldtekt panels in natural wood with milled grooves to resemble elongated planks.

“We think that the Troldtekt acoustic panels fit in well with the industrial architecture. It makes sense to use a material that is cement-based and which at the same time has a raw look. To find the right design, there was plenty of inspiration to be gained on the Troldtekt website and with Troldtekt’s project consultants – they had some good examples of the variety of design options available,” says Kerstin Heijde.