Kiruna's new city hall – The Crystal




The city hall consists of an inner and an outer building volume. The inner building is shaped like a crystal. The shape is inspired by the enormous concentration of iron ore that is found in the area's underground. Extraction of iron ore constitutes the city's basis of existence. The Crystal is publicly accessible and it comprises exhibition rooms, workshops, a city council hall, meeting rooms and balconies that are stacked on top of each other up through the building. The Crystal is the city's and the citizens' city hall, but it is also a landmark for Kiruna, which will stand out clearly a long way off due to its reflective surface.

The outer building floats like a ring around The Crystal, protecting it against the rough weather conditions of the region. This building comprises offices for the staff of the municipality's different departments. The building's shape forces the wind to move around the volume, ensuring that snow will not settle up against the building. The ring symbolises democracy, community and solidarity.

Kiruna's new city hall is a democratic building.

Due to its round shape, the building opens up to the entire city. There is public access to the city hall via a flight of stairs, where you can either move through the current exhibition or continue straight up to the top of the building. Inside the city hall, the democratic process is supported by the interplay between offices at the periphery and public functions at the heart of the building.

Hide all
Show all

Project facts

Project facts

Location: Kiruna, Sweden
Client: Kiruna City and LKAB
Year of construction: 2013 - 2017
Type of assignment: International competition
Landscape Architects: Tema Group Sweden
Engineers: WSP Sweden
Culture Design: UiWE

The current city hall

The current city hall

Kiruna's current city hall is a unique piece of architecture from 1958. It was launched as a design competition in which architects Alvar Aalto and Artur von Schmalensee were among the participants. The latter won the competition. The city hall was inaugurated in 1963, and the following year, it was awarded the Kasper Salin Prize, which is considered Sweden's most prestigious architectural prize.

The new city hall refers to the existing in several ways. The bell tower from the listed city hall is re-used in the square in front of the new city hall, just as materials and building parts are re-used to the extent possible. The winning proposal also carries on the idea about the city hall as a common everyday space for citizens and politicians alike.





The sustainability concept for the new city hall in Kiruna takes its starting point in Henning Larsen Architects' method, 'Design with Knowledge'. The method is about reducing and optimising a building's energy consumption as early in the design process as possible.

The project's daylight strategy is linked to the circular facade and its ribbon windows. The material and design of the ribbon windows ensure that daylight is reflected into the offices, which are located along the outer facade. The same applies to the atrium, where the white surfaces of the roof structure and the bright surfaces of the building's interior ensure optimum daylight conditions at the building's centre.

In connection with the project, a materials list has been prepared, which describes the proposed materials' environmental profiles. The choice of materials aims at reducing the environmental impact while at the same time ensuring good working conditions for workmen and users during and after construction.