Raketskolan, Kiruna (Sweden)


Raket School, Kiruna (Sweden)

Kiruna is a town with a singular destiny. Its eighteen thousand inhabitants live in the northernmost town in Sweden, in the heart of Lapland, 145 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. In 1900, the presence of iron ore and gold justifi ed the creation of a town in this isolated inhospitable territory with an extremely harsh climate.






Architect: Mats Jakobsson,Arkitekt SAR/MSA, 
Technique: VMZINC® Flatlock panel, Surface aspect: ANTHRA-ZINC®


But although the ground in Kiruna is often covered in ice, the sky is full of stars. In parallel to the mining activity that devours its subsoil, the town has the ambition to become a gateway to space travel. Rockets and sounding balloons are launched nearby. Airbus
has just decided to conduct extreme cold testing here for some of its planes. And Spaceport Sweden may set up its fi rst commercial space flights from here.



Raket Skolan - the rocket school - is an educational building that makes a clear allusion to space exploration, highlighting the scientific vocation of this Arctic town. The windows of the main facade are coloured circles reminiscent of rocket nozzles ready for takeoff.  The cladding in ANTHRA-ZINC® is capable of resisting the harsh climate and emphasises the effect of these windows, alluding to the heat shield in American space shuttles.



Although the zinc is reminiscent of the ore extracted from the town’s subsoil, the idea of mobility conveyed by this architectural rocket raises a typically Kirunian problem. The town is ravaged by mining galleries and could collapse. A schedule to move the town has been agreed: it should be complete by 2099. A deadline that should allow the “rocket” school to turn on its engines and head for a new launch ramp!