2003 – 09

Exhibited at:
Galleri Box, Göteborg 2010
Kristanstads Konsthall 2009, Winning a battle, losing the war
Published as an Artist book in 2009 by Mia Sundberg Galleri/Kristianstads Konsthall



The book and photo series about Jakriborg began with the work on the exhibition New Paths at Skåne Konstförening in 2003. This exhibition focused on different solutions to inner city traffic problems and function-separated and custom-designed urban environments. Jakriborg was a clear alternative, and simultaneously a criticism of prevailing norms. The City was a critique of the million homes programme and its stereotypically oversized traffic solutions and separated, outspread cities. Jakriborg was at the time, a construction in progress that broke radically with the dominant modernist traditions of Swedish architecture and urban planning. Jakriborg has been a recurring theme over the years up to the exhibition at Kristianstad Konsthall in 2009 and the completion of the book Architecture as provocation. This was a final summation of a place, based on the conditions for its existence at that time, before the town expanded to ten times its original size.

Jakriborg can be seen as a deviation both from architectural norms and fom what is considered to be properly Swedish. The realisation of the project has been made possible because no national or local authority was involved in the design or construction. The initiative and vision came instead from two property owners, Jan and Krister (Ja + Kri) who offer housing that "the people want" in a cosy, semi-artificial idyll. Far from the concrete brutalism of the new cities and far beyond the consensus of Swedish architecture. It is also a Swedish version of the phenomenon new urbanism, even if the property owners reject this analysis, and all other clear categorization.

Instead of approaching the contemporary, the entire town is a simulacrum, a series of facades that are more like houses in theme parks depicting the Old Europe than any other existent, preceding architecture. Jakriborg offers accessible, comfortable, democratic forms of housing at affordable prices while it dismisses the traditions that have shaped Swedish cities during the last hundred years. The idea of creating a simulacrum of a fortified medieval city in a contemporary Scandinavian context is indeed amazing.

The rejection of the modernist model also implied a rejection of a cohesive and comprehensive city plan. As a result, non-places have appeared in the cityscape; small patches of ground, elevated concrete surfaces, and odd corners with no defined purpose or pragmatic function, none of which show signs of having been hidden or disguised. That Jakriborg includes areas that could be established as heterotopic spaces shows the city's shortcomings but also its immediate potential as a flexible social space. It is perhaps no coincidence that the current population is something of a cross section of Swedish society, including subcultural elements. Jakriborg may not look like residential areas inspired by Le Corbusier or the dream of the welfare state, but it is still possible that the city can come close to achieving the same goals. Jakriborg is a kind of accidental heir to the Swedish welfare state.

The project was published in book form in 2009 by Mia Sundberg Galleri / Kristianstad Art Gallery, containing a selection of photographs from the series and an essay by Mats Eriksson and an academy discussion for the Swedish Academy of Architects. The book is available here and at the following outlets: Konst-ig, Moderna Museet book shop, Malmo Konsthall, Göteborg Museum of Art.







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