Linnaeus University

Where the future takes form
Client: Linnaeus University and Skanska
Location: Kalmar
Years of commission: 2014-2020
Type of project: University
Competences: Education, Landscape, Interior Design, Accessibility

The Öland bridge has symbolised the city of Kalmar for some time, but it may now be faced with competition. We are engaged in the citys largest, most extensive construction project since the bridge was built: the university of the future, located by the abutment. The project will fuse the city with the academic sphere.

Linnaeus University is based in Växjö and Kalmar. In Kalmar, the institution is spread throughout the city, and the aim is now to bring things together at the Universitetskajen site. Tengbom has designed the eastern section of the new university, containing laboratories, lecture rooms, offices, a library, a café and restaurant, student union premises and an information desk. The western section was designed by CCO Arkitetkter.

The project is the city’s largest, most extensive construction venture since the Öland bridge. Linda Camara, Office Manager for Tengbom in Kalmar and head architect on the project, is delighted to be involved. “For us, it’s a massive honour to be engaged in shaping the city’s future and contributing to community development in our own city.”

Illustration: Tengbom
Illustration: Tengbom

Bringing the institution together

From the university’s perspective it’s a case of stimulating greater interaction, that is, between students, researchers and the city as well as trade and enterprise. Someone once said that the next Nobel Award winning ideas are conceived in cafeterias, and it’s precisely this type of spontaneous, unplanned synergy we are aiming to create. Architecturally speaking, this involves creating a transparent, open environment in which students and local residents are made to feel welcome.

A university integrated into the city

Fundamentally, the project is concerned with integrating the institution into the city, unlike many other university buildings which are typically located outside of the city centre. In Kalmar, however, interaction between the university and city, and between academia, trade and industry, is a key concept. The institution’s waterfront location enables synergies with the city of Kalmar, its residents and businesses, and its location at the guest harbour will ensure there is activity in the area all year round.

Illustration: Tengbom
Illustration: Tengbom

Five visions

Linda Camara, Krister Bjurström and their team were focused on the following five visions when conceiving the building: Integration with the city, an Academic centre of the future, Sustainability, National and international renown and Architectural quality. This collective vision can be discerned at the university’s main entrance, Universitetsplatsen, as well as other locations.
“This is set to be one of the city’s largest squares; but with a difference. We currently have Larmtorget, bristling with restaurants and vibrancy, and Stortorget, which is a more formal site mainly used for large events. Universitetsplatsen will be something else entirely,” explains Linda.

It is hoped the square will be used for new events such as the start of term, graduation and public examinations of doctors’ theses, as well as being a site for students. Universitetsplatsen is situated on an elevated plateau, which is also hoped to inspire activity.
“As an architect, you can create a platform and then challenge people to use it. However, we can never really predict how something will be utilised. It’s up to the city and university,” explains Linda Camara.

Pearl and Shell is a metaphor for the buildings at Universitetskajen.

The Pearl and Shell concept

The fundamental approach for the area as a whole could be said to involve an integrated design with a common façade concept. Pearl and Shell is a metaphor for the buildings we have designed at Universitetskajen. The surrounding building, the shell, features a somewhat darker, more rugged brickwork exterior, while the lighter interior can be symbolised by mother-of-pearl. The shimmering pearl can be found inside the shell, a unique building with contrasting façade materials and an original, clear-cut colour scheme. The library is housed within this portal structure. The profile building consists of a ten-storey high teaching and administration centre incorporating the brickwork concept, while the main entrance is situated at Universitetsplatsen, where the institution embraces the city and guest harbour.

We are currently drawing up construction documentation for phase one, scheduled for completion in 2018. The entire project is set to be completed by 2020.


The team behind this project

  • Linda Camara Office Manager Kalmar, Architect SAR/MSA
  • Krister Bjurström Architect SAR/MSA
  • Aron Aspenström Architect SAR/MSA
  • Sandra Westin Architect SAR/MSA
  • Tove Krogh-Andersen Architect SAR/MSA
  • Magnus Nilsson Architect SAR/MSA
  • Jan Arbman Structural Engineer
  • Sara Bergström Architect MSA
  • Per de Mander M Sc. Engineering SVR, Project Manager
  • Johan Ekström Model Manager
  • Joakim Grönlund 3D Illustrator
  • Hans Hultman Structural Engineer
  • Xin Li Architect SAR/MSA
  • Josefin Nyberg Architect MSA
  • Jorge Ramirez Architect MSA
  • Malena Strömberg Interior Designer
  • Joao Pereira Architect
  • Ioannis Moutsatsos Architect
  • Josefine von Bahr Structural Engineer
  • Josefine Nyberg Architect MSA
  • My Tillback Structural Engineer
  • Nellie Karlsson Structural Engineer
  • Ibrahim Younis Illustrator
  • Christel Dell'Aquila Interior Designer MSA
  • Peter Lundbladh Architect SIR/MSA


Linda Camara Office Manager Kalmar, Architect SAR/MSA +46 480 363 670