Mirum Galleria, Norrköping, Sweden

In the outskirts of the city of Norrköping (200km south of Stockholm) is a housing area from the 1960s called Hageby.  At that time a couple of consultants created a model for industrial building of housing. A production unit was set up on site and the houses were built over a short period of time. Almost all of the apartments were three room units. Over time the shortcomings of the construction process became visible with leaking roofs and other problems. The area did not become the popular housing area politicians and planners had hoped. During the 1980s the property owner tried to change the image by painting the buildings and add new roofs.
The city planning authority of Norrköping are now trying to change the image of Hageby and its 8000 inhabitants and claim the problems on high degree of unemployment and big scale structures based on the planning ideas of 1960s. They call their project  in newspeak terms for The Garden City Hageby and hope to create something with a resemblance to the Ebenezer Howards ideas. I could think of few other places less apt for that idea.

From the very beginning a major retail centre was planned and that is why there are few shops in the area outside the centre. Even the public library which was situated opposite to the centre has now moved in to the basement level of the centre. The owner of the centre today is Steen & Ström and they have changed the name of the centre to Mirum Galleria. The word Mirum is said to mean surprise. For the people of Hageby the change of the name really was a surprise and more than a thousand inhabitants signed a protest via Facebook. They meant they lived in Hageby and Hageby Centrum was their centre. There is no other centre, not even a public square to mention.

The old Hageby Centrum has now been transformed by two architect companies, White and Evenden. The new design of Hageby Centrum is definitly not in correspondance with Garden City ideas. On the other hand, the usual modernistic approach of these architects goes very well with the original ideas of the master plan. The Hageby Centrum opened 1966 and was then with its 25 ooo sq m the biggest indoor shopping centre in the Nordic countries. Today The Mirum Galleria encompasses 75 000 sq m shopping area and has a more the 100 meter long and 14 meter high glass facade.

The Mirum Galleria was nominated to one of three in the competition of Shopping Center of the Year, by on organization called Nordic Council of Shopping Centers. It did not win. When you read the jurys (who are they) motivation for the winning centre, you realize that they do not take any consideration to the surroundings of a center or the kind of local community it is a dominant part of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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