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Welcome to ArkDes on September 27th
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ArkDes is currently closed for refurbishment.

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The Ideas That Shaped Modern Sweden

Stadsbiblioteket, Stockholm. 1921. Gunnar Asplund. ArkDes collection.

ArkDes holds one of the world’s largest architecture collections, which reveals how architects’ visions become the reality that surrounds us. 

The museum’s collection consists of over four million drawings, sketches, photographs, letters, models and other objects. They are what remains of the processes, creativity, visions, discussions, people, and inspirations behind Sweden’s built environment. It is a living collection that not only helps us understand and reevaluate history but also brings us closer to the individuals who shaped modern Sweden. 

From 1850 to today 

ArkDes was established in 1962 and the foundation of its extensive collection was then the photographic and drawing archive of the Swedish Association of Architects. Since then, the collection has steadily grown with donations from architects active from 1850 to the present. Notable architects represented include Gunnar Asplund1, Sigurd Lewerentz2, Susanne Tucker3, Léonie Geisendorf4, Backström & Reinius5, and Ralph Erskine6. From the time before and after the turn of the 20th century, there are objects from the likes of Isak Gustaf Clason, Cyrillus Johansson, and Carl Bergsten. The collection also includes a significant number of photographs from Sweden’s leading architectural photographers, such as Sune Sundahl7. 

Rewriting History through the Collection  

ArkDes is committed to keeping the collection accessible for research. The museum’s research service and library provides material for those who wish to consult the collection and its stories.

A collection that is accessible to the public and researchers can contribute to a more inclusive architectural history, where previously overlooked buildings and individuals are brought to light. In recent years, efforts have been made to expand the collection with parts of Sweden’s architectural history that have been underrepresented, particularly women’s contributions to the art form and architecture and design of Sami origin. This also includes objects originating from protest movements or engagements around architectural and societal issues, like items acquired from Kvinnors Byggforum (Women’s Building Forum)8, Bo i Gemenskap9, and the work of the architect Abelardo Gonzalez.

The Collection and the Future 

Organising and cataloguing one the world’s largest architecture collections is no small feat. As a result, significant parts of it are yet to be catalogued and digitised. The ongoing work to make the collection accessible continues, and research for the new collection exhibition opening in 2024 has brought to light many previously unknown objects and stories. 
  • 1
    Gunnar Asplund, 1885–1940. Photographer unknown. ArkDes collection.

    Link to DigitaltMuseum.

  • 2
    Sigurd Lewerentz, 1885–1975. Photo: Pål-Nils Nilsson. In private ownership.

    Link to DigitaltMuseum.

  • 3
    Susanne Tucker, 1911–2008. Swedish Design Lighting, exhibition in Chicago. 1950s. Photographer unknown. ArkDes collection.

    Link to DigitaltMuseum.

  • 4
    Léonie Geisendorf, 1914–2016. Passport photo. ArkDes collection.

    Link to DigitaltMuseum.

  • 5
    Backström and Reinius. Photo: Hugo Priivits. ArkDes collection.

    Link to DigitaltMuseum.

  • 6
    Ralph Erskine, 1914–2005. Photographer unknown. ArkDes collection.

    Link to DigitaltMuseum.

  • 7
    Sune Sundahl, 1921–2007. Self-portrait. ArkDes collection.

    Link to DigitaltMuseum.

  • 8
    Kvinnors byggforum (Women’s Building Forum). Article from Nya Tider. 1982. ArkDes collection
  • 9
    Photo: Mariette Parling. 2019. Bo i Gemenskap (BiG): Ingela Blomberg, Gunilla Lundahl, Inga-Lisa Sangregorio, Sonja Vidén, Kerstin Kärnekull, Ann Norrby.

Dive deeper into the ArkDes collection:

Acquisitions from architect Abelardo Gonzalez

In 2023, ArkDes received an extraordinary collection from Abelardo Gonzalez, a Malmö-based architect renowned for his unique designs. His contributions add some glitter and glamour to the ArkDes Collection.

Léonie Geisendorf's Collection

The life's work of one of Sweden's leading architects is stored in the vault beneath ArkDes.

ArkDes' Collection on the move

Photo: Emma Fredriksson 200 square meters of hidden architectural history comes to the surface.

Architecture through the lens 

Did you know that ArkDes has one of the world's largest collections of architectural photography?

Unboxing – Explore ArkDes' Collection

Every afternoon, ArkDes curators showcase never-before-seen items from the museum's collection.
Starts – ongoing
Skeppsholmen, Stockholm

ArkDes Collection

The exhibition 'ArkDes Collection' provides a unique opportunity for the audience to gain insight into the stories and original works from the museum's extensive archive.