Gert Wingårdh

Gert Wingårdh (born 1951) is a Swedish architect whose company, Wingårdh arkitektkontor, maintains an international practice.[1]

Gert Wingårdh
Gert Wingårdh 2015.jpg
Wingårdh in 2015
Born (1951-04-26) 26 April 1951 (age 71)
Alma materChalmers University of Technology
AwardsKasper Salin Prize 1988, 1993, 2001, 2006 and 2007, ECSN European Award for Excellence in Concrete 2002, Prince Eugen Medal 2005, Mies van der Rohe Award nominee 2006, American Architecture Awards 2007, World Architecture Festival Award 2008, 2012 and 2013.
PracticeWingårdh arkitektkontor AB
BuildingsÖijared Executive Country Club, Lerum, 1988, Astra Zeneca R&D Site, Mölndal, 1993-, Swedish Embassy, Berlin, 1999, Universeum Science Centre, Gothenburg, 2001, Auditorium and Student Union at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, 2001, Housing at Bo01, Malmö, 2001, Arlanda flight control tower Arlanda, Sigtuna, 2001, Aranäs Senior High School, Kungsbacka, 2006, House of Sweden, Washington, D.C., 2003-06, Vällingby shopping centre, 2008, Stockholm, Müritzeum visitors centre, Mecklenburg, 2008, Citadellbadet swimming baths, Landskrona, 2005-07, Malmö Arena, Malmö, 2008, Building 10, Kista, 2010, Sven-Harry's Art Museum, Stockholm, 2005-11, Emporia shopping center, Malmö, 2007-12, Spira Concert hall and theatre, Jönköping, 2006-11, Naturum Tåkern, Mjölby, 2008-2011, Victoria Tower, Stockholm, 2008-11, Aula at Karolinska Institutet, Solna, 2006-13, Naturum Laponia, Gällivare, 2009-13, Kuggen at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, 2011
ProjectsVictoria Olympia Stadium, Stockholm, 1996, Scandinavian Tower, Malmö, 1997, Dalsland Lodge, 2002, Breath of Life, Östersund, 2003, Glaskasten in Marl, North Rhine-Westphalia, 2005

Personal lifeEdit

Gert Wingårdh was born 1951 into a wealthy family in Skövde, Västergötland county, as the only child.[2] His father owned the local cement factory and the family’s house was built on a limestone mountain. Both cement and limestone are materials Wingårdh later has used in his work.

When Wingårdh was ten the family moved to Gothenburg. After moving to Gothenburg he was bullied by other children for a while.[3] As a teenager he took interest in art and cinema.

Wingårdh still lives in metropolitan Gothenburg, near Marstrand in Kungälv Municipality with his family.[4] His home, an old cottage in the picturesque setting of an ancient village, contrasts sharply with the modernist style and skyscrapers with squares and sharp edges that he designs in his professional life.[5]


Wingårdh studied economics, art history and architecture in the 1970s at Gothenburg University and Chalmers University of Technology, and has in interviews stated that it was a visit to the Pantheon, Rome, that made him decide to become an architect.[6] Before deciding to become an architect he had plans to be an art-gallery owner.[3]

He received his degree in architecture from Chalmers in 1975.


Facade of Bo01 Housing, Malmö

Gert Wingårdh started as an interior decorator in the 1970s.[7] After graduating he joined an architectural firm for a short while before setting up his own office in 1977. He had his big breakthrough as a regular architect with the Öijared Executive Country Club outside Gothenburg in 1988. The building rendered him a Kasper Salin Prize.

He has had a number of assignments in the United States and Germany in recent years. Wingårdh is also the creator of the Swedish embassies in Washington[8] and Berlin. Most of his realized buildings, however, can be found in Sweden and in particular in the area of metropolitan Gothenburg. In 2007 Wingårdh won a major international competition for a large new shopping centre in Malmö,[9] and in the same year seven of the twelve hottest architecture projects in the capital Stockholm – listed by a Swedish national daily – were designed by Wingårdh.[10]

Several spectacular projects have created considerable attention but remained unexecuted, such as a conference centre in Östersund, Jämtland, on the top of a mountain, called Breath of Life.[11][12] Features developed in these experimental projects do occasionally return in built projects later, such as the curved glass facade that is realized in the shopping mall Emporia in Malmö 2011.[13]

Because of his skills, his way of constantly attract the media attention and the many prizes he has received, he is generally considered the most renowned living Swedish architect.[14] His role as a public figure is not without controversy, though. He has for example been known to be an advocate of skyscrapers which has made him a subject of critique from some (Swedish) colleagues.[4]

He became PhD (HC) at Chalmers University of Technology in 1999 and received the Prince Eugene Medal in 2005.[1] In 2007 Gert Wingårdh was appointed adjunct professor in building design at the architecture faculty at Chalmers.[15]

The Wingårdh office has circa 150 employees (2010).

Architectural styleEdit

Gert Wingårdh started as a Postmodernist in the 1980s, as one of the architects who broke away from the strong Functionalist (International style) norm that held sway over Scandinavia longer than in other countries.

He is known to pick up new trends in architecture quickly and interpret them with a personal expressive language which integrates the surrounding landscapes into the projects:[16] "His buildings do not stubbornly adhere to one style but are a response to the task in hand and the surrounding environmental conditions. Sweden’s rich tradition of building with wood and a strong ecological awareness is combined with high tech expertise".[17]

Wingårdh has himself described his architecture as ”high organic”, combining high tech with organic architecture.[18] He also has been described as a ”maximalist” rather than a ”minimalist”, his buildings being ”a kind of modern baroque”.[19] He has shown influences from and kinship with such different architects as Frank Lloyd Wright, Hans Scharoun, Carlo Scarpa, Frank Gehry and Peter Zumthor.[19] Another paradoxical description states that his buildings are both ”playful” and ”strict”.[20]

A feature of Wingårdh's is to surprise the visitors of the buildings, keeping the entrance of a building low and then ”heighten the sense of space and drama when entering the main rooms”.[21] He also has a good knowledge of details as well as an understanding of intricate building structures which requires good knowledge of sociological processes and human behaviour.[22]

Gert Wingårdh (2017)


His building for the Öijared Executive Country Club, Lerum, was awarded the Kasper Salin Prize in 1988, and the Astra Zeneca R&D Site, Mölndal, was awarded the same prize in 1993.[23] He received the ECSN European Award for Excellence in Concrete in 2002 for the Arlanda air traffic control tower. Other buildings include the Universeum Science Centre, Gothenburg (2001), and the auditorium and Student Union at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg (2001), the latter also received the Kaspar Salin Prize. And in 2006 the Aranäs Senior High School in Kungsbacka was awarded the same prestigious prize. He was awarded the Prince Eugen Medal for architecture in 2005.[24]

In 2006 Wingårdh also was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award for Mimer's house in Kungälv. House of Sweden was awarded the American Architecture Awards by the Chicago Athenaeum 2007.[25]

The Washington embassy also received the Kasper Salin Prize 2007, making it Wingårdh's fifth Kasper Salin Prize—which places him in a league of his own among Swedish architects.[26][27]

At the 2008 World Architecture Festival in Barcelona Wingårdh was declared the ”clear winner” in the shopping category for the K:fem building in Vällingby, Stockholm.[28] At the 2012 World Architecture Festival in Singapore, Victoria Tower in Stockholm was the winner in the hotel category. And at the 2013 World Architecture Festivale in Singapore the Emporia shopping center in Hyllie outside Malmö was declared the winner in the shopping category.[29]

Influences on architectureEdit

Gert Wingårdh's awarded projects and his contributions to the public debate on architecture [30][31] have contributed to a changed image of architecture and architects in Sweden.[32] A will to create new solutions for every new task[32] has enhanced the variation in the production but reduced his impact as a stylistic beacon.[33] An ambition to "give the client what they did not know that they wanted" [34] reveals a will to provoke as well as to adapt.

Astra Zeneca R&D Site, Mölndal

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Gert Wingårdh; Thirty Years of Architecture, Mikael Nanfeldt (ed.) (Birkhäuser Publishers for Architecture, 2008)
  2. ^ Interview with company Forbo Flooring Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine Accessed November 3, 2006
  3. ^ a b ”Överraskningarnas mästare” Archived 2007-04-25 at the Wayback Machine Profilen, No 3, September, 2006. Accessed October 27, 2007
  4. ^ a b Andersson, Elisabet ”Gert Wingårdh lever inte som han lär” Svenska Dagbladet, 27 July 2004. Accessed 11 August 2004.
  5. ^ "Hemma hos Gert Wingårdh". Aftonbladet. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  6. ^ Interview with company Forbo Flooring. Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine Accessed November 3, 2006
  7. ^ Nilsson, Fredrik ”Gert Wingårdh”, article on Wingårdh at the Swedish National Encyclopedia (password needed)[permanent dead link] Accessed June 5, 2005.
  8. ^ Kiser, Kirsten ”Wingårdh Architects. Swedish Embassy” Archived 2005-12-14 at the Wayback Machine Arcspace, 26 May 2003. Accessed 27 September 2007.
  9. ^ Carlsson, David ”Shopping center by Gert Wingardh” David Report, 20 March 2007. Accessed 4 April 2007.
  10. ^ Sundström, Anders ”Nu ska staden växa på höjden igen” Dagens Nyheter, October 29, 2007.
  11. ^ Carlsson, David ”Gert Wingårdh in the mountains” David Report June 1, 2007. Accessed October 15, 2007.
  12. ^ Homepage of Breath of Life. Accessed October 15, 2007.
  13. ^ Gert Wingårdh : thirty years of architecture through four decades / edited by Mikael Nanfeldt; [translation: Roger Tanner and Angela Barnett-Lindberg; photographs by Andreas Ackerup...]. - 2008. - ISBN 978-3-7643-8646-7
  14. ^ Andersson, Elisabet ”Flitig provokatör dominerar arkitektscenen” Svenska Dagbladet, November 25, 2006. Accessed November 26, 2006.
  15. ^ Nystås, Michael ”Gert Wingårdh new professor at Chalmers” (Newsletter from Chalmers) Archived 2007-10-14 at the Wayback Machine August 15, 2007. Accessed September 1, 2007.
  16. ^ ”Gert Wingårdh – Natural Habitats” Design Build Network, August 1, 2006. Accessed November 27, 2006.
  17. ^ Kiser, Kirsten The Bookcase: Gert Wingårdh, architect Archived 2006-12-07 at the Wayback Machine Arcspace, September 30, 2001. Accessed May 5, 2004.
  18. ^ Att bygga ett land. 1900-talets svenska arkitektur, Claes Caldenby (ed.), Byggforskningsrådet, 1998, p.186
  19. ^ a b Gert Wingårdh, architect, Rasmus Waern, Birkhäuser Publishers for Architecture, 2001, p.11
  20. ^ Nilsson, Fredrik ”Gert Wingårdh”, article on Wingårdh at the Swedish National Encyclopedia (password needed)[permanent dead link] Accessed November 25, 2007.
  21. ^ Gert Wingårdh, architect, Rasmus Waern, Birkhäuser Publishers for Architecture, 2001, p.33
  22. ^ ”Gert Wingårdh, Architecture” (Chalmers on professor Wingårdh) Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine August 21, 2007. Accessed November 30, 2007.
  23. ^ Homepage of Wingårdh's (under Wingårdhs/Gert Wingårdh/Awards) Accessed November 11, 2005.
  24. ^ "Prins Eugen Medaljen" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  25. ^ Homepage of The Chicago Athenaeum Archived 2007-11-24 at the Wayback Machine Accessed September 15, 2007.
  26. ^ Homepage of the Swedish Association of Architects (pdf-guide)[permanent dead link] November 15, 2007. Accessed November 16, 2007.
  27. ^ Yeaman, Nanushka ”House of Sweden året bygge” Dagens Nyheter, November 16, 2007. Accessed November 16, 2007.
  28. ^ Homepage of the World Architecture Festival Archived 2008-10-26 at the Wayback Machine October 23, 2008. Accessed October 24, 2008.
  29. ^ Homepage of the World Architecture Festival Archived 2013-10-04 at the Wayback Machine October 2, 2013. Accessed October 2, 2013.
  30. ^ See for example Dagens Nyheter 2010-12-28
  31. ^ Gullbring, Leo ”Gert Wingårdh” (Portrait) Form, No 2, 2002. Accessed July 2, 2004.
  32. ^ a b Lena From "Sensualism articulate" in Mikael Nanfeldt (ed.): Gert Wingårdh. Thirty Years of Architecture through Forty Years. Birkhäuser (2008)
  33. ^ Harri Hautajärvi "An architectural chameleon" in Mikael Nanfeldt (ed.): Gert Wingårdh. Thirty Years of Architecture through Forty Years
  34. ^ Olof Hultin and Claes Caldenby: "Samtal med Gert Wingårdh" Arkitektur 2:1995

Selected books about Gert WingårdhEdit

  • Gert Wingårdh, architect, by Rasmus Waern (Birkhäuser Publishers for Architecture, 2001)
  • Nordic by Nature, by Stefan Ostrowski (Natur & Kultur, 2001)
  • Gert Wingårdh; Thirty Years of Architecture, Mikael Nanfeldt (ed.) (Birkhäuser Publishers for Architecture, 2008)
  • Crucial Words. Conditions for Contemporary Architecture, Gert Wingårdh and Rasmus Waern (ed.) (Birkhäuser Publishers for Architecture, 2008)
  • Falk Jaeger: "Wingårdhs", JOVIS Verlag Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86859-035-7

External linksEdit