It’s not easy to decide what is most spectacular about Aula Medica. The 23 metre overhang? The advanced design? At any rate aula medica is one of Stockholm's most innovative buildings in recent years.
Karolinska Institutet has long had an extensive active relationship with the wider community and therefore also a great need for its own meeting hall facilities. Yet no proper auditorium was built when the campus took shape in the 1930s and 40s.
Seminars, lectures and symposiums are a natural part of its activities, and the annual Nobel lectures attract audiences from around the world.
However, Karolinska Institutet lacked its own premises for hosting such events.
This finally changed in 2008. Akademiska Hus and Karolinska Institutet had long been planning, together, a lecture hall on Campus Solna, and thanks to a private donation in 2008 from the Erling-Persson Foundation the project to design and plan Aula Medica got under way. Ground was broken on the project in September 2010.
The demanding structure called for steel
To make the most of the limited space available at the site, the architects at Wingårdh came up with the bold idea of sloping the façade sharply outward and thus making each floor larger than the one below. The façade slopes as much as 33 degrees in places and the top floor has an overhang of 23 metres versus the perimeter of the ground floor below it.
Right from the outset, Johan Ström, Head of Section at COWI, realised the challenges that the project presented.
“The entire building challenges the laws of physics, to be sure. A heavy structure that slopes sharply outwards places great demands on the design of the structure and the choice of materials. Initially the intention was to have a wooden frame, but in the end it had to be steel to ensure the structure could cope with the strains,” says Johan Ström.