Ever since its foundation in 1877, the School of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has been susceptible to international theory. The archive and the library at the present School of Architecture contain numerous examples; in this section we intend to present material as part of a continous project to acknowledge the history and theory of architectural education.
The starting point is a book that plays an important part in the history of early modern architecture in Sweden. Following the publication of "Der Städtebau nach seinen künstlerischen Grundsätzen" in 1889, the Austrian architect Camillo Sitte was particularly well received in Sweden and became one of the most influential theorists in the field of architecture and urban planning.
The Swedish reception of Sitte is closely connected to the architect Per Hallman (1869–1941), who promoted Sitte's ideas in his practice as an urban planner. Hallman introduced Sitte's ideas in a lecture in Stockholm as early as 1895, clearly inspired by a close reading of "Der Städtebau". His own copy of the first edition still exists in the Library of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology. As a PhD-student, I found this worn-out, fragile book almost fifteeen years ago, marked with Hallman's personal ex libris and generously filled with notes in the margins.
Hallman's comments on Sitte's text make for fascinating reading, especially since Hallman also had the opportunity to use Sitte's ideas in his practice as a teacher. As the leading Swedish practitioner in his field, Hallman was appointed the first Associate Professor in Urban Planning at the Royal Institute of Technology in 1897, although a permanent position was not granted until 1914. Besides his work as an urban planner, he stayed on as a teacher until 1934, when Sitte's ideas on planning had long lost its significance. However, his influence can still be traced in different ways.
One of the most prestigious precincts in Stockholm, planned by Hallman in 1907-08, is the mountainous area adjacent to the present School of Architecture. In this context, Hallman solved the problems introduced by the terrain through an ingenious use of Sitte's methods of irregular planning. It is evident that this situation was taken into account in the design process of the present building for the School of Architecture, which was completed in 1970.
A decade earlier, an architectural critic, Thomas Paulsson, had acknowledged Hallman's work in a thesis, concentrating on the forgotten values of earlier planning policies. The urban planning at the turn of the century 1900 could thus be incorporated in the urban appraisal in architectural theory during the 1960s. Later on, architect Göran Sidenbladh, fornerly responsible for the reconstruction of the central parts of Stockholm, even published a Swedish translation of "Der Städtebau".
Following the critique towards the city's earlier policy, Sidenbladh's translation may be interpreted as a late memento. Although Sitte's irregular method is no longer the answer to the questions of urban planning, "Der Städtebau" still holds a prominent position in the history and theory of early modern architecture in Sweden.
Stockholm: KTH Arkitekturskolan , 2010. 34-35 p.
History of Architecture, History of Urban Design, KTH School of Architecture, Camillo Sitte, Per Hallman