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A Journey through Karlskrona- The agenda behind Flat Pack

Part 1 Dissertation 2008
Sadie Alsop
Plymouth University Plymouth UK
On the plane, about to embark on a journey through Karlskrona, my brother's home town in Sweden, to discover the agenda behind the philosophy of flat pack architecture I look down at the flat forestry covering the land. The combination of the Swedish setting, geographically and its influence upon its inhabitants has provoked such a response that their need to reject what is irrelevant and emphasise the beauty of what is purposeful has landed Sweden with such a distinguishable style.

This dissertation explores the increasingly popular phenomenon of Flat Pack architecture by using a small town called Karlskrona in the south of Sweden as a vehicle for discovery. During my seven day excursion the coherence between Swedish culture, history, law and climate with the concept of prefabrication becomes ever more defined. From the history and association with America to the predictability of their weekly routine, Sweden has evolved these attributes into a flat pack philosophy and attitude involving an expression of logical thinking, a response of rationality to the bare necessities and a sense of disregarding the unnecessary.

Using a small development called Gulberna Park as a reference for the character of this genre of architecture, I build a foundation on which to contrast, compare and to derive my own conclusion as to what really is the agenda being the popularity of this concept.

During the four hour train journey to the airport, I became fixated with the familiar images of the chalk grey sky, the gently falling flakes of snow and the same thicket of trees that seem to stretch the length of the country and I questioned how such a naturally inspiring setting can accept such a man-made concept of flat pack housing. However, as the minutes and hours go by it becomes apparent; the regularity and predictability of pine forests, house, barn, station, pine forests, lake, house, barn and so the journey went on. These reoccurring adjectives throughout my experience here are predictable in themselves; structure, logistics, functionality, individuality, stereotype, showing glimpses of themselves every so often like the lakes and forests.

Sadie Alsop


The idea of dissertation as diary simultaneously accounts a personal journey and experience during a trip to Sweden with research undertaken into Swedish culture. The Swedish connection between America, family life, social event, climate and flat-pack are strong, and unfolds throughout the paper with smooth synthesis.

The reader becomes a travel partner in this dissertation. The in-depth footnotes suggest a thought process linking unique discovery with analysis of research.

This dissertation balances the subjective and enquiring mind of the author with objective facts, and in turn the physical document captures the spirit of ‘Swedishness’, executed with ‘lagom’ level of control.

Tutor(s)
Adam Cowley-Evans
2008
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