MSA Stage 5 School of Architecture

Beatrice Rogojan

Enthusiastic about architecture, speculative design, as well as  XR and  AI[art].

the north within the north

the north within the north

Project Location: Luleå, Northern Sweden, 150km down the Arctic Circle.

Project Statement and Hypothesis

This Design Thesis explores the viability of implementing an adaptive-reuse strategy to address the unsustainable consequences of Luleå’s densely commercialised urban core, especially in its Arctic setting. The objective is to transition its consumer-driven urban activity into a community-centred one by repurposing one of its most valuable yet declining assets: the first indoor shopping mall in the world, ‘Shopping’, designed by Ralph Erskine in 1955.

Right after WWII, when Luleå started to expand, Erskine’s vision of a “city within a city” materialised through Shopping, which provided a warm place for gathering, protecting from the harsh, sub-Arctic climate, pioneering the idea of an indoor public square for the Arctic communities.  Sadly, over the years, the urban centre in Luleå has gradually become only a generator of profit that prioritises consumerism, directly impacting Shopping’s destiny into becoming a mere shopping mall with 60% of spaces closed off, having undergone extensive inappropriate renovations.

Hence, the thesis speculates that Luleå’s consumer-focused urban core has the potential to evolve into a social, educational and cultural locus for the Arctic community by repurposing one of its first mechanisms, Erskine’s Shopping mall, which played a pivotal role in catalysing social, cultural and commerce activities in the city’s urban core. Thus, this thesis proposes an adaptive-reuse strategy for reviving Shopping’s past social and cultural role in an Arctic community.  Furthermore, a methodology for finding appropriate, contemporary design solutions is developed to rejuvenate Shopping’s lost architectural character in line with Erskine’s vision.