At the end of the seventies even the “ Swedish model ”, which has always been emblematically avant-garde, appears to be invested by the general crisis, which materialized above all in a sense of mistrust towards what had been defined as the state of well-being par excellence and its acclaimed participatory democracy, centered on large urbanization plans and on the creation of satellite neighborhoods. Thus the construction sector, in which the public presence was absolutely predominant, undergoes a profound transformation with the entry of private capital, irrelevant before 1979. From this date, in fact, government commissions are drastically resized, with the result of a decrease the number of new hospitals and schools, while commercial or multifunctional buildings multiply, incentivized by the single investment. Consequently, the type of approach to the problems of building changes radically, where architects linked to previous policies were used to programs with a broad social scope and an essentially urban slant. Greater attention is now being paid to ” minimalist ” themes: the street, street furniture, the articulation of open spaces.
An exemplary example of this is the case of the fantastic underground architecture of the Stockholm metro, on whose most recent stretch, about fifteen kilometers long, 159 artists have worked, spectacularly decorating the galleries of 58 stations. On the other hand, the commercial typologies are in full development, impeccably represented by the SAS offices, the work of N. Torp, near Stockholm (1988). Winner of the relative competition, Torp organizes a mirroring device: an organic machine à travailler which integrates the towering office block with an air-conditioned glass spine at the service of workplaces, banks, agencies, refreshment and recreation areas, rotated 45 degrees with respect to the travel axis. However, not even the Sweden is exempt from the capillary influence of postmodernism. Following the model of L. Krier, M. Ungers and A. Rossi, among others, the groups Arndt, AOS Arkitetker and Brunnberggruppen, the latter authors of the Minneberg neighborhood of the years 1985-87, operate in this direction.
According to listofusnewspapers, the bank of C. Nyrén (1986) in Stockholm stands out from an otherwise flat context, characterized by the impetuous movement of the windowed walls, culminating in a sequence of pointed bowwindows. Finally, the restructuring of the National Parliament, carried out in 1985 by M. Ahlgren, T. Olsson and Sweden Silow, should be noted. The conception of the Volvo headquarters in Gothenburg, a central courtyard complex with an asymmetrical ” comb ” side (1985), was entrusted to R. Mitchell and R. Giurgola.
Likewise, the Danish E. Asmussen and the Londoner R. Erskine enjoy extreme prestige, active in Sweden since the 1940s. Erskine (b. 1914), brilliantly carrying out a considerable amount of assignments, has undoubtedly contributed to forming a generation of architects. His production of the last decade is characterized by a dazzling originality. Color, light, spaciousness, variety and dynamism of materials and shapes, eloquence of contents mark both the residential settlement of Huddinge (1977-85) and the works for the University of Frescati, a suburb of Stockholm. From 1981 to 1984 he erected the library, the Alhus (everyone’s home) and the sports palace on the educational campus, where grandiose wooden arches cover a span of 47 meters. In 1986 it is the restaurant of the St. Göran hospital in Stockholm, ” designed ” like a hinge between the two wings of the healthcare facility. Refined high tech, the terraced construction sloping down into greenery has been described as “a veranda on the archipelago”. E. Asmussen (b. 1913), a leading exponent of ” romantic architecture ” (his motto is “architecture passes through the heart”), is one of the most followed artists in Scandinavia for having linked his name to the set of buildings that make up the Rudolf Steiner Seminariet in Järna, about fifty kilometers from the capital, where Asmussen lives and works. The softly elastic volumes, the natural technologies, the almost informal structure have the aim of figuratively expressing the particularity of each function.