The Architecture of Deregulations: Politics and Postmodernism in Swedish Building 1975-1995

Helena Mattsson, Catharina Gabrielsson

Project Period: 2012-2014
Type: Affiliated Research Project
Program Area(s): Critical Historiography


The aim of this project is to analyze the links between the shift that occurs in Swedish architecture from 1975 to 1995 – often referred to in terms of a "postmodern" shift – and the concurrent transformations within Swedish economics and governmental policies, characterized by deregulations and adaptations to market conditions. Modern Swedish architecture has become synonymous with "the architecture of the welfare society", shaped by politicians in close collaborations with architects. What is far less clear, however, is how the architectural conceptions and ideals that emerge following the critique of this earlier era are related to overarching economical and political conditions.

The working hypothesis underpinning this project is that postmodern architecture not only reflects the profound political and economical changes during this time but also in fact contributes to, and possibly enforces, the ideological shift that these entail. There is little research on Swedish architecture from the mid-70´s until the 90´s and the material has not yet been fully related to its socio-political and economical context. Cross-analyzing aesthetical, political and economical factors, the project will focus on the architectural discourse during this period (in journals, exhibitions etc.), and the process and execution of two developments in Stockholm, the Globen arena (1984-1989) and Södra Stationsområdet (1986-1992).

Researcher(s) Bio and Publications