Embassies Strut Their Stuff

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As part of the London Festival of Architecture, 28 international embassies will be opening their doors to the public and holding displays about architectural projects in their country. This is a fascinating opportunity to get inside some of these places; many are located in very historic and unique buildings.

We visited the The Royal Danish Embassy and the Swedish to compare the sustainability efforts of these two Scandinavian rivals. The results: Danes win on bling, Swedes on quality. The Royal Danish Embassy is in a stunning and special building designed by Arne Jacobsen but unfortunately the exhibition was located in the car park. Nonetheless, it was designed by Wayne Hemmingway and the exhibits were displayed on corrugated cardboard stands (pictured). Called Sust-DANE-able, it consisted of models of sustainable projects by 18 leading Danish architectural practices. There are only two architecture schools in Denmark so the work is very homogeneous. Since it was a dark, dimly lit room, it was hard to get a sense of what the buildings really look like. Over to the Swedes...

The Swedish exhibition was in the basement of a furniture showroom. Called Greener than thou? Sweden Goes Sustainable, they had huge coloured, backlit photos of the most wonderful looking, creative and innovative buildings.

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Icehotel in Lapland
The Icehotel in Swedish Lapland is set by the Torne River and has to be on every list of 1,000 places to visit before you die. The building begins in mid-November when the snow starts; it is sprayed on huge steel frames and allowed to freeze. Then the frames are removed, leaving a maze of corridors of snow. It is just like a traditional hotel except that it melts annually in spring.

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Museum of Art in Kalmar
In response to strict environmental demands, this award-winning new museum was built with a selection of natural materials.

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Stockholm Kallbadhus
This is a proposal for a public outdoor bath which is completely passive, iconic and sustainable. This project was very controversial because of its location in the central harbour of the city. :: London Festival of Architecture

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