Ting1 - Atlas Obscura

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Örnsköldsvik, Sweden

Contrasting the old concrete courthouse beneath, a modern and colorful residential marvel has emerged, stirring both acclaim and controversy. 


Ting1, completed in 2013 in Örnsköldsvik, is one of Sweden’s most remarkable residential buildings, captivating with its vibrant colors, distinctive architecture, and innovative construction. Its façade of glazed high-gloss ceramics stands in striking contrast to the gray brutalist concrete of the 1967 courthouse it sits on top of.

The new building appears perched on the courthouse’s roof, yet no physical contact exists between the two structures due to a discreetly positioned 26-foot by 26-foot base in the old building’s courtyard, creating a clever architectural composition reminiscent of a substantial mushroom with its stem securely anchored within the enclosed plaza.

Designed by acclaimed architect Gert Wingårdh, Ting1 boasts 11 floors and a façade featuring 78 glass balconies offering stunning views of the High Coast region’s landscape, including the iconic ski jumping hills. This design contributes to the building’s artistic vibrancy, drawing inspiration from a pixelated version of the late regional artist Bengt Lindström’s oil painting Women’s Dance.

Ting1, called “the LEGO house” or “the Coronavirus” by some locals, stirs both acclaim and controversy. It was a finalist for the Swedish Building of the Year 2014 award and won the Great Tile Award that year. However, differing opinions emerged, labeling it as “Ångermanland Province’s ugliest building” in a local 2016 poll, and it was critically spotlighted by the Arkitektupproret (Architectural Uprising) movement, which fights against modernism. This mix of accolades and critiques vividly shapes Ting1’s unique standing in architectural discussions.

Know Before You Go

Ting1 is located in central Örnsköldsvik, approximately seven minutes by foot from the railway station. The facade of the house can be observed 24/7. However, you must be a resident or a guest of one to access the interior. 

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