I had the grand fortune to be able to re-visit the old public records building. I found when I came home from the first time that I had unfortunately missed many details that I remembered and I also did not find the basement with the elevator machine room and the attic where I think some nice pictures could be made.
Therefore – here is my re-visit to the Public Records Office here in Stockholm. If you have not seen the first article then you should read that one first.
Now you are welcome to follow me into this fantastic place. The building is bein re-made into a place for children, which I think will be really great – very Harry Potter-ish in many ways. So welcome into the magic world of designed offices from the 1880:s.
Corner stairs again. This time the sun was shining right outside and I wanted to get a special effect from the light to show the relative strength of the sunlight. I think I got it where I wanted to. It looks like an H-bomb just went off outside...
This is the lock and handle on the doors that separates the different archive rooms from eachother. They are built in very sturdy boiler plate stell to provide safety from fire. Most doors also have signs telling people to keep them closed to make it harder for a fire to spread through the archives.
This is a detail from a window frame where the Swedish compandy ATLAS here in Stockholm can be made out.
An adjusteable ventilator. There are ventilation shafts within the walls of the building in some room to provide for fresh air to circulate.
Some of the old binders and collectors remain, but they are empty. I wonder why they have been left here when everything has been removed from all of the other shelves. Perhaps as a reminder of what it might have once looked like when the shelves where full of these things...
A stair case leading down into the basement. We found this when we went exploring the darker and more dungeon-like parts of the archive and had to go back and get the camera and tripod. Was looking for the engine room for the elevator.
This is the last level of the archive before we actually get to the attic of the building and it has a different design. Here there are no big windows letting light in and there is a large wooden cupboard at the end that used to hold some special volumes. I am guessing that not everyone had access to this part of the archive. Maybe here is where the dark secret magic books where kept?
This is a part of the attic, the wall and the roof and concrete supports. I just liked the various textures here. It was really hot up here even if the temperature outside was not so high but the sunshine on the roof made it easy 30-35 degrees in here. Hot and dusty.
I believe this is part of the heating system in the building, the expansion tank. As you can see it is designed in such a way that a small leak here would lead the water away over the floor to an outlet that would let it drain through the wall without harm. I don't think this part is being used any more, the wood looks old and cracked and not in use.
This radiator looks like something out of a Russian movie. Perhaps somethingt from the battleship "Potemkin" but in fact it is another type of radiator used to heat the building. This one is located in the attic of the public records building and the design is modular. It is apparently so that you can put more of these modules together if you need more heating power.
This place looks like something out of a computer game such as "Unreal" or similar. I am just expecting someone to enter with a rocket gun, circle strafing around me firing rockets high and low. A really strange feeling. Imagine what fun you might have with some paint ball gear around here... :-)
Here is another shot from the same room as in the previous picture.
Some nice patterns of light and shadow on the floor of one of the upper levels here.
This is the details on the base of one of the column radiators. Again it is the ATLAS company here in Stockholm that delivered these.
Details of the iron support pillars. These pillars are very nice and you find them pretty much everywhere in the third floor with the offices.
The state archivist's office. This is the grand office in the building with doorways to the left and right to study rooms and secretary rooms. Two huge windows for letting the light in and a very nicely decorated ceiling designed in a way to provide a natural attenuation of sounds in the room. The electrical light is not typical for the times but added later, perhaps in the 1940s or so. The same for the radiators which is a much more modern type of radiators compared to the ones found in other places in the building. I really like this photograph myself, one of those I will always remember shooting. I have corrected lens distortion in photoshop and used three different exposures at 14 bit RAW before combining them to this image.
The entrance to the archivists office. The offset in colour temperatures between the outside and the indoor lamp light is rather obvious here.
The ceiling in the archivist's room. I was laid flat on my back when taking this photograph.
I love these stairs that are build in several places in this building. They are also made by the ATLAS company and actually I saw one exactly like this in a coffee shop on Ringvägen close to Skanstull metro station when I went in there for a cup of coffee a couple of days ago. I did not ask if they had put their stair case in or where they got it from but the design was exactly like this one although the rail was a little bit different I think.
A close-up shot of the stairs of the stair case in the previous picture. Complete with the company name.
This is the window above the entrance to the building with that yellow light that seems to be always shining. You can see the letters RIKSARKIVET but mirrored.
A painted arch above the doorway on the third floor of the building. These paintings are pretty much everywhere in the "nicer" part of the building.
This is the entrance to the machine room for the elevator in the building. Originally the building had no electricity but then it also seems to be proud over that it was the first public bulding in Sweden that did have an electrical elevator. I am not sure when it was installed but they installed it in a separate room with a boiler plate steel door in order to be able to contain any electrical fire that might result from it.
The elevator engine, drum and controller. I believe the engine was modernized in the 1950s, it does not by far look as old as the rest of the machinery and probably the wire has been replaced as well. However the controlling mechanism seems to be original.
All these three pictures from the elevator machine room was taken in darkness shot with a hand-held flash light used to light paint the room into the right mood. I really like this technique.
Corridor in the basement.
Three toilet stalls. On the middle one it says "Tryckeri" which means printing but there is also a second more litteral meaning in Swedish and it means "a place where something is pushed". Suiteable for a toilet. Lit by a key chain diode lamp and long exposure.
Part of the court yard and gate into the back side of the public records building.
Just look at the iron works of this gate...
An interesting solution here. Especially in the winter time condensation on the windows was a common problem and the solution here was to catch the water before it could drip onto the floor and instead lead it onto the radiator where it would be evaporated. Nice solution!
Last saturday we set out about 11 hobby photographers to the old Public Records building here in Stockholm. It was my Flickr aquaintance Björn Sahlström who had been able to get access to the building and we entered it with camers, tripods, bags of lenses and other gear to have a good time. The building is fairly large so we quickly spread out and did not have to step on each other’s toes at all really.
Strolling through the empty halls that used to hold all the stat public records and books was a strange feeling, I had never been there, some of the others had been on a guided tour and quickly went to photograph what they knew to be well worth taking a look at.
This building is called ”Riksarkivet” in Swedish and was built around 1880 with the intention of being able to withstand a fire. From the beginning the archive was only open during the light hours of the day because they did not want open flames or even electricity inside. Therefore it has huge windows to let enough light in for people to be able to work there with reasearch or book keeping tasks of various kinds.
The facade of the wondeful building is made from a special type of engineering brick in red and black. The architecture is referred to as neo-renaissance. It was the building of the Swedish publick records from 1890 ca and forward into modern times when it was moved to a new building. This house has been empty since then and is a wonderful place to visit.
This is the entrance of the old public records building here in Stockholm. It is a grand design and quite impressive when you are standing outside it. Notice the word "RIKSARKIVET" on top of the door? There is also a light on inside that shows through the stained glass window.
The grand entrance is well known and famous!
At first they did not want electricity in the building at all. That is why they went for such big beautiful windows. But in the end they still had problems with soot on the windows from the near by train track and decided that some electricity was okay for lights and reading lamps.
Elevator. Once no electricity at all because of the fire hazard but still this elevator was installed. The engine for it was compartmentalized in a fire proof encasing in the basement of the building. The elevator was delivered by a company called "Allmänna svenska elektriska aktiebolaget" which is today better known as ASEA - one of the biggest companies in Sweden...
Archive room. Notice the plastic skeleton someone has hung in the leftmost window?
The Book Slide or "bokstörten" as it is called in Swedish. This invention was added to the stair case in the days of the second world war. The idea being that should Sweden become attacked by an aggressor in the war, then the archives and books here could be loaded onto ships fast using this book slide to slide them down to the water front and then they could be sailed off to some secure location.
Another shot of the famous book slide, this time from beneath.
Elevator indicator indicating which floor the elevator is located at. The readings indicates "top floors 1-3" where the actual indicator is located on top floor 1 and then middle floor I guess some would call that the Mezzanine and then the two bottom floors in the building. Strange way to give names to the floors but since this was the first elevator installed in a public building in Sweden I guess they found a better way later on.
Heating water details. The plumbing is quite cool here, craftmanship and artwork at the same time. I found myself having a bit of a problem with shooting details this time, something I need to work on I think because I came home with a lot of different rooms in my camera but not so many details and sometimes it is the details that really gives you the feeling for something. Or as the expression goes - the devil is in the details...
Column radiator - these radiators are quite fantastic being a design from the 1880:s. They are hollow inside and the cold air at the floor level enters through the grates at the bottom, gets heated and rises to exit at the top creating a chimney effect that will circulate the air in the room to avoid moisture and dampness. Of course the outside also radiates heat and aids in the convection. And on top of that they are rather beautiful to look at in my opinion.
Another of the famous archive rooms. That's me up on the balustrade there using the camera self timer.
The reading room / study / board room. I love the details in this room, look at the drawers in the table for temporarily putting away what you are not reading at the moment and look at the lamps integrated in the design to cast a nice reading light over the table when the huge windows are not sufficient for the light in the winter time. Look at the balustrade around the whole room where you can walk around it. This is one of the most fascinating rooms in this building.
An attic light - I found this light in the attic and it seems a more modern design than many other lights, perhaps something put in in the seventies or eighties when these spaces where being used. I liked the radiosity of light on the beams and so I managed to make three separate exposures and combine them for this photograph which is a proper HDR photo.
The light on the floor again on one of the upper levels in the building. The huge windows served the purpose of providing enough light for working in the building before there was any electrical lights in here. Eventually the fear of fire subsided and electricity was installed and one of the reasons was that the windows was subjected to a lot of soot from the nearby railway where the steam engines went past hourly.
The hallway - I love the stone floor and the way the radiator is integrated into the wall of the stairwell like this, it is a really good design. Notice how they left space at the top for the air to move freely creating that "chimney effect" in order to make the heater much more efficient than conventional radiators.
The commode - one of the toilets with a good view out over the old town in Stockholm and wonderful light from the window. Notice the nice radiator from the heating system, all built in so you can't burn yourself on it even if it is really hot. The insulation was not that good so in the winter the heaters worked pretty hard to keep the moisture and dampness at bay.
One of the archive rooms with the shelves intact. All the papers, books and everything else is long gone from this place but here the shelves remains. Probably most of the archive rooms looked like this with narrow paths between the shelves where librarians and intendents could find the acts, protocols and other things that was requested perhaps by the government.
A splendid view through one of the magnificient windows. This is in the same archive room as the last picture was taken, just looking out the window. I think I could live here :-)
Details from the elevator. It reads: "Instruction. Make sure doors and gates are closed properly after you have entered or exited the elevator. Use the buttons accordingly to their markings and then allow the lift after it has started to stop by itself. Never open the gates when the elevator is running. People under the age of majority are not allowed to operate this elevator alone."
A reading light with a classic design. Since light bulbs caused lots of heat there is a kind of "stick" where you can grab and angle the light even if it is too hot to touch directly.
What can you say other than this magnificient roof is just splendidly preserved.
Here is the reading room or board roam again, this time with the camera facing the windows.
Today it is 30 years since the accident at Three Mile Island in the US with a meltdown as the result. Not only did the core suffer a meltdown but the building of further nuclear power plants in the US was hampered and not only there, in many countries all over the world – including Sweden – there was serious discussion on if nuclear power should be allowed at all.
Wednesday, March 28, 1979 is the date that will go to history as one of the darkest days in the history of nuclear power. After this disaster the building of new uclear plants in the the US was completely stopped. Not until now, 30 years later are actually new plants being planned for. In total 26 new nuclear power plants all over the country. China are planning to increase the number of reactors from eleven to 32 in the coming years.
And actually the disaster is a testament to the great security that was employed in building the Three Mile Island reactor. The public was never in any real danger despite the disaster, the enclosement of the core was working exactly as planned and the release of nuclear particles into the atmosphere was actually lower than one year of normal operation for a plant like this.
The nuclear power pland of Harrisburg, Three Mile Island.
People who knows me knows that I prefer nuclear power to fossil-fuel power plants and I would rather see several new reactors built rather than new coal plants in Germany and Poland. Not to mention the emerging economies in Asia.
The truth is that many more people dies from pollution each year than from ionizing radiation and when the Chernobyl disaster struck it was Swedish nuclear power plants who first noticed an increase in the background radiation level.
Technology can always be better and there are still some old dodgy reactors around in Russia. Let’s help them build new modern reactors that are safe to use and build on the rather safe technology that we have used in Sweden, where the reactor never can go critical, if something goes wrong it will just shut down.
The Swedish nuclear policy is a strange thing, ever since in 1980 when there was a poll what people thought of nuclear energy (just after the Harrisburg incident mind you) we have had a policy to dismantle and rid the country of nuclear power plants. Of course we have not had that much to replace it with, we do have a fair lot of hydro power plants that work well but that is also a limited resource and the large rivers suiteable for this are mainly already used.
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