The Construction of Construction:
The Wenner-Gren Center and the possibility of steel building in postwar Sweden

Book design for the thesis The Construction of Construction by Frida Rosenberg

380 pages

The thesis consists of a prologue, five chapters and a conclusion, a Swedish summary and a bibliography backed by more than 150 illustrations, many of them never published befor

The Wenner-Gren Center in Stockholm, built between 1954 and 1966, consists of three buildings dedicated to interdisciplinary and scientific research, designed by Sune Lindström and Alf Bydén of Vattenbyggnadsbyrån (VBB). The project was sponsored by Axel Wenner-Gren, and received support from the Swedish state through the donation of a property at the northern end of Stockholm’s thoroughfare Sveavägen. This thesis considers how the construction of the Wenner Gren Center played into a complex web of infrastructural alliances that both shaped and were shaped by the development of a new building format. It studies how the technical, social and economic processes in play during the project constituted a purposeful attempt to research a wider landscape of possibility in construction.

Pivotal to my investigation is the fact that steel was re-introduced as a structural building material in Sweden during the construction of the Wenner-Gren Center, which fundamentally affected that process. The thesis asks “what made steel building possible at the Wenner-Gren Center” It becomes evident that the answers to this question are multivalent. The thesis allows the particularities of different knowledge-practices combined into the architecture project to speak by mapping the debates between the actors involved: architects, engineers, various construction consultants and the investors and politicians behind the project. The thesis also implicates operational formats such as research test results regarding technical development, financial calculations, and pre-construction analyses in order to visualize how architecture is regulated. In other words, my investigation examines various agencies in the architectural process in order to unfold the significance of a single case study.

Ateljé Andrejs Ljunggren

Brännkyrkagatan 13c
129 30 Stockholm