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Controversial Nobel Center finds new home in Stockholm

Stockholm

AN AMBITIOUS but controversial new centre for activities surrounding the Nobel prizes, including the prestigious award ceremony and a Nobel museum, has found a new location in Stockholm, the Nobel Foundation said last Friday.

In 2018, a Swedish court ruled against the construction of an already retooled version of the planned "Nobel Center" in the heart of Stockholm, saying that the building "would affect the readability of Stockholm's historical development as a port, shipping and trading city".

The proposed Nobel Center, which is to house a museum and serve as a site for the Nobel foundation's outreach activities, has had many critics, including King Carl XVI Gustaf, because of its planned size, location and colour.

"This will be a new beginning for our efforts to make the Nobel Center a reality." Lars Heikensten, executive director of the Nobel Foundation, said in a statement last Friday.

The new site is in the area of Slussen, which connects two of Stockholm's islands and is about one kilometre from the originally intended Blasieholmen peninsula.

Mr Heikensten said the centre will "assume a new shape on a new site". The previous project, designed by British designer David Chipperfield, consisted of a shining brass building, in stark contrast to the 19th-century customs house slated for demolition that now occupies the space.

In rejecting the building permit, the court said the construction would "cause significant damage" to the preservation of Blasieholmen's cultural heritage and environment.

The Nobel Foundation had originally hoped to launch work on the new centre in 2017, but now aims for 2025 or 2026.

The foundation said last Friday that it will now "initiate the process of seeking funding for the project and appointing an architect." AFP