Local time
Welcome to ArkDes on September 27th
Café Blom is open as usual

ArkDes is currently closed for refurbishment.

About the Authority

Photo: Matti Östling ArkDes Library.

ArkDes is a national museum and a national authority with a government mission to enhance the understanding of and initiate discussions about the impact of architecture and design on our lives.

ArkDes is both a museum in Stockholm and an agency active throughout Sweden. The museum cares for a collection of Swedish architecture consisting of four million objects dating from the 1850s onwards. Our home is on Skeppsholmen in Stockholm, but our activities are national. As an agency, we conduct practice-oriented research projects across the country aimed at making a difference to our shared living environments.

In 2018, ArkDes’s mandate was expanded to include the policy area of designed living environments. This policy area is concerned with the significant role that architecture, design, art, and cultural heritage play in shaping living environments.

ArkDes’s task, combining museum operations and policy mandate, creates a unique kind of institution with opportunity to intertwine knowledge of Swedish architectural history with contemporary design processes that actively contribute to shaping sustainable societies.

Ownership, management, and funding

ArkDes is state-owned and managed under the Ministry of Culture as a governmental agency. The agency is led by a Director-General appointed by the government for a six-year term, renewable for an additional three years. An oversight council (insynsråd) is in place to provide transparency for the public and to advise the Director-General.

ArkDes is primarily funded by the state, along with external funding and sponsorship. Our finances are detailed in the annual financial report.

Photo: Viktor Fremling. 2023. Karin Nilsson, appointed Acting Director at ArkDes.

ArkDes’ task from government

ArkDes, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design, is tasked with strengthening knowledge and promoting interest in the values and significance of architecture, form, and design for individuals and societal development. The agency’s activities should be relevant for everyone.

The agency should be a national meeting place for stakeholders in the fields of architecture and design. It should work with exhibitions and other educational activities to strengthen the position of architecture and design in society.

The agency is responsible for ensuring the goals set by government for architecture, design, and form are met. It should also monitor the policy impact in the area and propose measures to strengthen these impacts when necessary.

The agency must maintain, catalogue, scientifically process, and enrich through new acquisitions the collections entrusted to it and keep the collections accessible to the public. The collection area includes items related to the agency’s tasks within the field of architecture.

ArkDes reports back to the government on its government missions through its annual report, submitted to the government annually on February 22.

Each year on March 1st, ArkDes submits budget documentation to the government, including requests for future needs. 

The Swedish National Audit Office audits ArkDes’s finances annually to ensure proper management of state funds and prevent irregularities. The audit report is available through the National Audit Office.

ArkDes’ Collection, agency archive, and core values

ArkDes manages a four-million-item collection, largely consisting of drawings and archival materials from architects, as well as models, photographs, etc. These are available digitally via ArkDes’s website and on-site through ArkDes’s research service at Skeppsholmen. The items constitute a museum collection and are not documents governed by the Swedish state’s transparency regulations (’Allmänna handlingar’).

ArkDes’s agency archive is accessible through its registrar. It contains public documents received or prepared by the agency and is subject to the principle of public access.

The agency operates based on the six principles of the state’s core values: democracy, legality, objectivity, free opinion formation, respect, and efficiency in service.