Scandinavia is not a treasure box for urban exploring like f.i. Berlin, where abandoned buildings are everywhere and left alone for ages, but if you know where to look, you'll find real gems - one of them being St.Göran. Now I guess it's too late, I got there just in time, and by coincidence, I've already been there once before, photographing a lot through the windows and now I thought I'd drop by again, just to check what was going on.
St.Görans gymnasium, at St.Göransgatan at Kungsholmen, was originally a college for girls learning sewing and cooking. The building is magnificent in itself and an important piece of Swedish architectural history. It was drawn by Charles Edouard and Léonie Geisendorf, much inspired by Le Corbusier's ideas and was finished in 1960. Around the bottom halls the general rooms like the library and the cafeteria was located, and further up you would find the classrooms.
Like a lot of concrete buildings, St.Göran also suffered and was in desperate need of rehabilitation. I believe the school was closed down in 2011. Now renovation work has just started to turn the building into student flats. I find it sad though, as it was a school like no other, with it's gymnastic auditorium up on the seventh floor or something, with an extraordinary view over the entire Stockholm.
I didn't get to see that room. I got to St.Göran on my bike, and it was clear renovation was well on it's way. Good thing about that, the door was open. I was standing outside with my camera, and a nice, elderly worker came.
- Are you going inside?
Me: Eh...no, I guess not. Or...can I?
- Um...not really, but why would you like to go inside?
Me: Just to photograph the building.
- Um....I guess that's ok. Just walk around a little bit and be sure to close the door behind you when you leave.
Me: Of course. Thank you SO SO SO much!
So, I was in. There was construction work going on around me, but they hadn't started ripping everything apart yet. I'm not sure how much they will destroy, I guess the main hall will stay the same, after all, the building is listed, but the classrooms, with blackboards and details will all be gone. I didn't dare to start walking up the stairs, just to the second floor, the man had been so nice to me, I didn't want to get him into trouble. From my work, I know there are strict rules about walking around on a construction site. (I should have brought a helmet!). I saw that a lot of details were already gone, but some remained, and the atmosphere in the old, empty school was incredible. Left alone for almost four years, the stunning modernism was even more present than before, it's like it sort of came to life when the building was all empty.
Swedish urban exploring pioneer Jan Jörnmark took wonderful photos of the school, before anything was done, you can see them here. (Text in Swedish).
So, enjoy the amazing St.Göran, that was left behind in all its raw concrete beauty. I would die for those lamps. Anyday.