Carmen Izquierdo’s brass-clad visitor centre at Lund Cathedral.
Won in competition, Lund Cathedral visitor centre is sited between two historic buildings on Kraftstorg Square in the centre of the southern Swedish city. The concept, explains Spanish-born Carmen Izquierdo, was to create a contemporary building that would add a new layer to the historical strata of Lund. It is designed to blend in with the townscape by responding to the scale and massing of the existing buildings.
Set back from Kyrkogatan Street, the recessed south-facing entrance is signalled by a steeply-raked brass canopy that extends the roof plane of the adjacent two-storey building. The scheme creates two further public spaces: a triangular-shaped plaza facing Kungsgatan Street to the east, and an entrance passage to the north, facing the cathedral.
At the heart of the plan is a naturally-lit, double-height atrium, which serves as a reception, informal meeting space and cafe. It also provides a visual connection between the public spaces on the ground floor and the more private administrative areas on the upper level. Clustered around the atrium on the ground floor is an exhibition space, an activity area, and a series of storage rooms.
On the north side of the plan is a small open-air courtyard – formed by the convergence of the new structure with an existing U-shaped building – and a conference room and auditorium. The latter incorporates a large, raised trapezoidal window that extends out into Kraftstorg Square and frames views of the cathedral’s spires.
Exposed shutter-marked concrete walls and glass partitions dominate the interior, while outside, the facades are clad with vertically-installed, brass alloy panels supplied by Aurubis Architectural. Izquierdo says brass was favoured for its rich, vibrant appearance. It will also gradually oxidise to a deep bronze colour, allowing the building to further blend in with its surroundings.
Architect: Carmen Izquierdo Arkitektkontor; collaborating architects: Andreas Hermansson, Erik Törnkvist, Isabel Gonzaga, Malin Belfrage; structural engineer: Jan Lövgren; m&e: Patrik Holmquist, Ronny Sjöholm; acoustics: Anna Swanberg, Maria Carlsson; main contractor: PSG; client: Domkyrkrådet i Lund; Nordic Brass sheets: Aurubis Architectural; photos: Åke E:son Lindman.
First published in AT230, July/ August 2012