A City Displaced

In order for the iron ore deposits under the city to be mined, the city is being com­plete­ly relo­cat­ed. Some build­ings are mov­ing with it. Oth­ers will be demol­ished. Places of mem­o­ry will dis­ap­pear as the mine moves. All this will take time. The mas­ter plan pro­vides for about 20 years. There­fore, there will be two cities for a long time. Much is unclear. For exam­ple, whether the new hous­es will be afford­able or whether the city will have to migrate again in the future, because the seam of the ore deposit extends to beneath the new city. © Klaus Thymann

The small town of Kiruna in Swe­den, with a pop­u­la­tion of almost 18,000, is to be moved. The rea­son for this is a mag­netite ore mine. The city could col­lapse if the earth is hol­lowed out. Plans have been devel­oped to part­ly demol­ish and part­ly rebuild the hous­es at a loca­tion about three kilo­me­ters away. This unusu­al move should be com­plet­ed by 2033. Many, includ­ing the city admin­is­tra­tion, see a town devel­oped on the draw­ing board as a poten­tial new begin­ning. How­ev­er, not every­one seems hap­py about the plans, which are close­ly linked to the company’s eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment. What would hap­pen, for exam­ple, if the glob­al mar­ket price for mag­netite ore fell and the relo­ca­tion of Kiruna, which has already begun, could not be ful­ly implemented?


Kiruna Mas­ter­plan


White Arkitek­ter, Ghi­lar­di + Hell­sten Arkitek­ter, archi­tec­ture office; Luos­savaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebo­lag (LKAB), Kiruna Kom­mun, Tekniska verken i Kiruna, Kirun­a­bostäder, co-financ­ing and orga­ni­za­tion of the relo­ca­tion; Kiruna Kom­mun, commission


Since 2013


Kiruna, Swe­den

White Archi­tects in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitek­ter won the inter­na­tion­al com­pe­ti­tion for a 20-year mas­ter plan for the grad­ual relo­ca­tion of Kiruna five kilo­me­ters to the east by 2033. The images show aer­i­al views of Kiruna in 2033 and 2100. White Archi­tects and Ghilardi+Hellsten chal­lenged the orig­i­nal brief and ini­ti­at­ed a 100-year per­spec­tive for the mas­ter plan with the goal of cre­at­ing a sus­tain­able mod­el city with a diverse econ­o­my that is less depen­dent on glob­al demand for iron ore. © Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitek­ter and White Arkitekter
© Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitek­ter and White Arkitekter