Architect Maja Hallén, photographer Johannes Samuelsson, conservator Åsa Hallén, and scenographer Jenny Nordmark – they are the team tasked with activating and developing one of Robertsfors’ older industrial buildings. The project, Commoning the Heritage, is part of ArkDes’ practice-based research initiative for 2023, carried out in collaboration with Robertsfors Municipality and the Swedish National Heritage Board.

Amidst the extensive industrial development underway in Västerbotten and the establishment of the Norrbotnia Railway, the entire region anticipates a significant influx of new residents. With this development, there arises a need for new high-quality public spaces and places for people to come together. In the Commoning the Heritage project, taking place in Robertsfors, the exploration focuses on how existing cultural heritage environments can contribute new values to societal development.

Photo in header: Patrick Degerman

The selected team. From left: Jenny Nordmark, photo: Josefina Nordmark. Johannes Samuelsson, photo: Johannes Samuelsson. Åsa Hallén, photo: Lars Sjöqvist. Maja Hallén, photo: Annelie Jönsson.


The composition of the team demonstrates an ability to work with both analytical methods and craftsmanship, while involving local community stakeholders. There is a balance here between design expertise, the capacity to engage, and insights into long-term processes and conservation perspectives. Through previous experiences, the team also has the opportunity to develop methods and concepts from past processes, which is highly beneficial for the knowledge-building aspects of the project.

In their application, the team describes relevant thoughts and ideas regarding sustainable development for the designated site, encompassing both economic and social sustainability aspects. The assessment panel believes that the team has significant potential to translate local needs into concrete ideas that can have a lasting impact on the development of not only the current building but also other cultural environments of similar character.

– This project aims to breathe life into a building with a fascinating history and an intriguing spatial location, and we are immensely delighted and proud of this assignment. We look forward to getting to know the location and the people in Robertsfors; the time leading up to December will undoubtedly be quite an exciting journey, says Maja Hallén, member of the team.

In total, 35 applications were assessed under the Commoning the Heritage call for proposals. In the initial phase, all applications were evaluated based on 12 criteria related to the composition of the team, theoretical and practical foundations, as well as the methodology and approach.

Ten applications were shortlisted for final evaluation, and one team was selected as the winner.

The assessment panel consisted of representatives from Robertsfors Municipality, ArkDes, and the Swedish National Heritage Board.

The final evaluation panel included:
Anders Persson, Robertsfors kommun
Hilda Vidmark, Robertsfors kommun
Jessica Erlaskog, Robertsfors kommun
Therese Moström, Robertsfors kommun
Karin Svensson, ArkDes
Hanna Gelotte Fernandez, Riksantikvarieämbetet