dehlin brattgård designs 'robust machine' for fast-changing, experimental exhibitions

dehlin brattgård designs 'robust machine' for fast-changing, experimental exhibitions

dehlin brattgård arkitekter introduces a new element of utilitarian architecture to arkdes, the swedish centre for architecture and design. the stockholm-based studio has built a new studio gallery, ‘boxen’, housed inside a chain-link wire mesh structure, intended as a robust machine for fast-changing, experimental exhibitions.

image courtesy of johan dehlin



dehlin brattgård arkitekter have designed the structure to be used in its entirety—inside and out, from bottom to top, by both exhibitors and audience—as a tactile, physically engaging experience. the blank canvas of the white-box interior contrasts with an external surface of chain-link wire mesh, designed for informal exhibition display effectively doubling the wall space. 

image courtesy of johan dehlin



built from a pre-fabricated standard section steel structure, and lined internally with birch plywood and white plasterboard, boxen is covered by a corrugated steel roof. the primary structure, with columns at regular intervals, make up the main frame of the gallery and is exposed externally.

image courtesy of johan dehlin



a ramp wraps around the gallery, navigating visitors through multiple points in the space. in this way, people are positioned as an integrated part of the boxen’s external expression. specific spatial relationships between the gallery and the surrounding hall appear as the ramp ascends through the space. 

image courtesy of johan dehlin



cantilevering from the primary structure, the ramp begins at the main opening, passing by a viewing platform at a large circular opening, and ending with a balcony that stretches the entire length of the gallery. from this balcony, a concealed stairway allows visitors to re-enter the gallery proper. the roof, lifted from the walls to connect the exhibition space to the surrounding hall, allows natural daylight to enter the main interior space.

image courtesy of johan dehlin



‘boxen’ is placed in one of two 19th century military exercise halls, which were appropriated as cultural venues in the 1960s. centrally placed in the hall, and set adjacent to the permanent exhibition, it announces itself through the main lobby and connects directly to the temporary exhibition hall. openings provide a natural flow through the gallery, and the wider museum.

image courtesy of johan dehlin



the interior is a tall, symmetrical, white room accessed by three doors. characterised by a reduced visual expression and generous dimensions, it provides a neutral background for exhibitions and events of all varieties. the plan of the gallery is defined by classical double-square proportions with a threshold space at the main entrance to emphasize the transition from the temporary exhibition in the neighboring hall.

image courtesyof mikael olsson


in between the columns are sections of chain-link wire mesh, through which the silver-painted backside of birch plywood is revealed. an additional layer of textile netting forms a railing around the outer edge of the ramp. the layering of materials on the outside of the structure creates a filigree expression and a visual depth that, in concert with the multitude of openings, blur the boundaries between the inner gallery space, the external exhibition surface, and the surrounding museum hall. in this way, the backside of the gallery wall gains equal importance as the inside.


project info


project name: boxen at arkdes

architect’s firm: dehlin brattgård arkitekter

completion year: 2018

gross built area (square meters or square foot): 156m2

lead architects: johan dehlin, johannes brattgård

structural engineer : DIFK (florian kosche)


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