New Nobel center sparks royal outrage, political outcry

Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:51pm EDT
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By Daniel Dickson

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The waterfront building in an upscale part of Stockholm was meant to showcase one of the world's most famous prizes.

Instead, plans for a new Nobel Centre have sparked royal outrage, political spats and objections from a Swedish business tycoon that it spoils his view.

"It looks like a brass-coloured nuclear power plant," said Lotta Edholm, who heads the opposition Liberal Party in Stockholm and who voted against the decision to approve the 130 million euro ($146 million) building because of its design and cost.

The Nobel Foundation centre, designed by British architect David Chipperfield, is intended to host exhibitions, seminars and probably the prize ceremonies. It is to be built on the site of an 1870s customs house and other historic sites in Stockholm's old harbor.

Stockholm City Council approved the plans but has since faced uproar and appeals against the 18,000 square meters building, which is partly financed by the Wallenberg business dynasty.

In June, King Carl XVI Gustaf, who presents the Nobel prizes each year in Stockholm, triggered controversy himself by criticizing the building as too big in a rare public foray into Swedish public life.

"It need not be so gigantic," he told Dagens Nyheter newspaper. "It could be downsized..... And why get stuck in trenches and say it has be located right here? It could also be moved."

Queen Silvia called for a referendum on its construction. Some politicians accused the king of meddling in politics.   Continued...

A general view of the new Nobel Center building is seen in an undated artist's rendering from the David Chipperfield Architects. David Chipperfield Architects/Handout via Reuters