ArkDes is Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design. It is a museum, a study centre and an arena for debate and discussion about the future of architecture, design and citizenship.
Our mission is to increase knowledge of and cultivate debate about how architecture and design affect our lives as citizens.
Sweden is in the middle of an unprecedented building boom, one that will define its towns and cities for decades to come. The work of ArkDes aims to influence this change through debate, exhibitions, campaigns and research relating to Swedish and international architecture and design.
We aim to put the citizens at the centre of the debate and look at the world through their eyes.
What we do
ArkDes aims to achieve its mission through exhibitions, events and debates at the museum and across the country, through our education programmes, and through making our world class collection and library available to researchers and scholars. We also take part in a variety of international curatorial and research projects and networks.
As well as its museum functions, ArkDes has a special role from the government that aims to help positively affect architectural quality in Sweden. This is known as ArkDes Think Tank – a meeting place for debate and research about architecture and urbanism in Sweden.
ArkDes is an active collecting institution, focussed on Swedish modern and contemporary architecture, and maintains, catalogues, conserves and exhibits a collection of around 4 million objects.
What is design?
Design at every scale defines our experience of where we live and spend time. Today, we are as likely to see the world through a digital interface as through a view framed by a work of architecture. ArkDes aims to bring together the many fields of design that will define the future of our towns and cities, including (but not limited to) urbanism, architecture, landscape design, product design, the many fields of design emerging from the digital world.
No single creative discipline will define the future of our towns and cities. In our work, we want to focus always on the public impacts of a broad range of creative people, using their work to help our audiences to better understand their world.
1950s: Svenska Arkitekters Riksförbund (National Association of Swedish Architects) create an archive of photographs to communicate contemporary architecture to the media and general public.
1962: Arkitekturmuseet (the museum of architecture) founded by SAR, taking over the collections and the task of distributing information to the media and general public.
1978: The museum of architecture becomes a national museum, and responsibility is transferred to the government.
Early 1990s: An architectural competition is launched for a new and larger building to house The Architecture Museum and the Modern Museum in Skeppsholmen, Stockholm. The competition was won by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo.
1998: The new building is completed and wins the Kasper Salin prize. The two exhibition halls at ArkDes are housed in the old halls used by the Swedish navy for training purposes (Exercishuset), originally designed by Fredrik Blom and completed in 1853. Rafael Moneo designed an adjoining building to house the library, offices and café for ArkDes.
2009: The museum’s responsibility is broadened to include other fields of design.
2013: The Swedish government adopted a new name for the museum, the Swedish centre for architecture and design or, for short, ArkDes.