Thinking big and crossing boundaries

Editorials by Mikael Eliasson

STOCKHOLM I spent last summer up in the mountains between Sylarna and Storerikvollen, on the Swedish-Norwegian border, occasionally straying out of the EU! This got me thinking about pan-Nordic collaboration and the Nordic Council of Ministers, which had met just a few miles from here a month or so before. One of the issues on their agenda was increasing construction in wood. There are currently clear wood strategies in Norway and Finland, where leading public projects such as an opera house have come to fruition.

Sweden too has a major opera house entirely made from wood, if only as a summer venue. I’m thinking of ‘Opera at Skäret’ ( This former timber warehouse was built in 1948, entirely from wood, and measures 20 x 100 m, with an equally impressive ceiling height. The building has incredible acoustics and plays host to new operas each year. It just goes to show – you can build big in wood for demanding purposes!

July saw a whole week of political meetings during Almedalsveckan on Gotland. Housing and construction were a recurring theme among the 2,000 seminars. With its amazing medieval timber-framed buildings, Visby provided a wonderful backdrop to the week of events.

In this issue of Trä we visit modern high-rise buildings in wood, including Strandparken in Sundbyberg, via Cenni in Milan and Murray Grove in London. We’ll also meet Bo Frank, a municipal commissioner in Växjö, ‘Europe’s greenest municipality’ and interview Michael ‘Tall Wood’ Green. Another big building profiled here is Tamedia in Zürich. Then we shift from large to small and take a closer look at the future of the allotment hut.

Welcome to the new issue of Trä, which we’re pleased to announce has increased its readership, making it definitively the Nordic region’s largest architecture magazine. Thank you to all our readers!

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