Project Management

Signature Move: A new city hall in Sweden is laying the foundation for a town’s massive relocation

Novid Parsi, and PM Network

Kiruna Sweden won’t be rebuilt in a day. But the first major milestone for relocating the Arctic mining town made one thing clear: The 18,000 residents are fully invested in driving the vision for a new Kiruna—no matter how long it takes.

The five-year, SEK600 million project to build Kiruna a new city hall was completed in November. It’s part of a massive £1 billion endeavor by the state-owned mining company Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag (LKAB) to move the entire city 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) down the road by 2033. The old town is sinking, at risk of being swallowed entirely by the world’s largest underground iron ore mine on which it’s built.

The new city hall was the first of a stream of projects, with 21 existing buildings to be relocated and 3,000 new ones to be built. The city hall also established a template for how the new city must connect with its past and how feedback from residents will influence all project teams going forward.

The people of Kiruna saw the old city hall as the town’s heart and hub: a popular and centrally located meeting place with a cafe and exhibition space. "So we needed a building that not only was an outstanding architectural landmark for the city but also served this public role," says Göran Cars, project leader for the new city hall and an urban planning professor at KTH…

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