The Collapsing City
March 3, 2016
Building Contract Specialists, Renovation, Redesign, New Build, Project Management, Extensions & Conversions
Much as the team at Multi Building Services love all things building and welcome a challenge, there are some projects which make even our jaws drop!
Imagine you are happily going about your business when a letter drops on the doormat, informing you that your home, business or office, along with the rest of the city will have to be moved. This is the unavoidable position that the people of Kiruna, north of Sweden find themselves in.
Kiruna, which lies 90 miles to the north of the Arctic Circle, was designed and built around 100 years ago, to house a mining community. The mine in question being the largest underground mine in the world, and producing 90% of Europe’s iron ore. Built into a mountain, the mine has a vast infrastructure with a depth of 1,365 m, and a bus is used to travel it’s 400 km of maintained road.
But now the city of Kiruna must be moved. Why?
Because the mine needs to be expanded, and when this happens the city will be in danger of collapsing, taking the majority of the charming green, yellow and red houses and other buildings with it. There has of course been a slow ongoing process of controlled collapse since the mine was created in 1900, and this is demonstrated by the presence of a deep chasm giving a Grand Canyon impression.
Many of the residents of Kiruna are somewhat resigned to the fate of their homes, realising that the economy of the city, and indeed Sweden as a whole, relies on the profitability of the mine and the mining company LKB. There is no doubt as to the importance of this extensive mine, which has, in it’s lifetime produced 1.5 billion tonnes of pure iron ore used in steel production.
The process of dismantling, relocating and rebuilding brick by brick, has now begun with the closure of the railway station and demolition of some houses. The stunning Kiruna Church is among the structures due to be transferred, which will be embarked upon with some trepidation. Up to 20,000 people will probably have to be moved at a cost in excess of one billion pounds.
A competition to redesign the city was won by White Architects in Stockholm, who have a history of sustainable building, and who have taken on this mammoth task. Pretty soon it will be ‘all hands to the helm’!