In his architectural work, Carl-Johan Viklund sees no contradiction in being inspired by history while remaining modern. On the contrary, he sees great opportunities in weaving the past and the present together. He happily takes inspiration from historic architecture, but without being romantic or ironic. Just over 30 years ago, the A6 shopping centre was built in the old regimental area of Jönköping. A phased renovation and extension has been taking place over the past few years with Carl-Johan as both administrative architect and architect in charge.
Carl-Johan was fascinated by old buildings early on. With his solid interest in construction and design, training to become an architect seemed the natural thing to do. No other profession was given a second thought.
"For me, it’s all about creating a mood, a presence in a place. It can also mean helping to heal an environment and create a whole. Thus, we contribute to something meaningful, where customer benefit combines with the public good while also being a source of joy for the people who come in contact with it."
As an architect and partner in Gothenburg-based Rstudio for Architecture, Carl-Johan has worked on a number of major projects. The agency has gained a high profile in terms of retail and urban planning. Because cities are built in stages and often consist of fragmentary parts, it’s important to have respect for existing architecture and create something similar, but which does not get stuck in the past. Seeing history with fresh eyes is important for Carl-Johan.
"A city is like a narrative to which new chapters are added over the years."
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Jönköping was a garrison town and the home of A6, the Småland Artillery Regiment, which had a major influence on the surrounding areas. The regiment was disbanded in 1985 despite major protests, and somewhat unexpectedly a shopping centre was inaugurated there by none other than King Carl XVI Gustaf on 2 April 1987. Thus these days A6 provides a different kind of bang for your buck. Today, the name is mostly associated with the shopping centre, which straddles the E4 motorway, but a look to the north reveals a history that is very much present in the beautiful garrison buildings used these days as offices.
During its 30-year history, the shopping centre has grown in stages to total 48,000 m2. This floor space is not only under renovation but will also be extended to 80,000 m², mainly through the construction of an upper floor. The architectural assignment went to Rstudio, and Carl-Johan and his colleagues have taken on quite a job.
"Many people pass by here every day and we want to put across a dynamic, urban feel inspired by historical buildings such as railway stations and market halls. This is where a classic natural material like terrazzo comes into its own through its durability, utility and all of the various design possibilities. It helps us maintain a link to history while also looking ahead."