This design project was the result of an open competition won by TERROIR and Kim Utzon Arkitekter in association, to convert the extension of the heritage-listed customs house building (Tornhuset) in Malmo for use as an education building for the World Maritime University. TERROIR’s Copenhagen office, which worked with Utzon on the design, is led by UTS Professor of Practice Gerard Reinmuth.
The design solution is a further development of spatial strategies persistent in TERROIR’s work. The hinge location of the site led to the extension being designed as a threshold between the street as it flicked from the old city grid toward the old harbour and the right-angle of Tornhuset itself. This intertwining of site geometries extends into the building’s elevation, with the roof of Tornhuset also providing a framework that could be elaborated by the new work.
The metal-clad exterior gives way to a bright, white interior, extending TERROIR’s interest in the opening up of enquiry and curiosity in the minds of visitors due to the ‘wonder’ in transition from outer to inner. The project further develops a spatial repertoire that has been developed over a decade and was recognised for its value to the project and city in the awarding of this project via competition. In the specific context of Swedish architecture, the project is unique in its approach to an existing heritage item of high significance, tapping into traditions of Swedish expressionism in architecture which have been little pursued since the start of the 20th century.