• Conférence
  • Partenariat
19.04.24 18h30

Swedish Grace

How Housing Cooperatives Kickstarted in 1920s Stockholm

Lecture by Jan Rydén Bonmot (artist and writer)


@ luca - Luxembourg Center for Architecture
© Jan Rydén Bonmot
From 1923 to 1927, affordable workers' housing was constructed in Stockholm in an amazingly short time. The developments had high artistic ambitions and introduced new modern conveniences such as central heating, bathrooms, communal washing machines, and verdant communal courtyards. The districts were built by the then-newly established Swedish housing cooperatives SKB and HSB.

Interestingly, it all happened against a socio-economic background similar to the present-day : a recent pandemic and a war in Europe sparking high inflation and rising construction costs. Then, the market-driven real estate development stopped dead in its tracks, and commercial building activity stopped. This gave room for the cooperative building movement to get going, and within a year, the first building was up. In four years since their foundation, they had built 2500 small apartments in Stockholm alone and started several factories. 

Can this housing success, where political will met citizen initiatives, provide inspiration for addressing the challenges in Luxembourg?

Jan Rydén Bonmot's recent book En humanistisk klassicism (A Humanist Classicism, Arvinius + Orfeus Publishing, 2022) is about the cooperative city districts built in Stockholm between 1915 and 1930. This pre-modernism progressive urbanism has been dubbed by Rydén Bonmot a humanist classicism – the cooperative urban version of Swedish Grace. 

  • Speaker : Jan Rydén Bonmot (artist and writer)
  • Language : English
  • Free entry
  • Upon registration

This lecture is organised by April Initiative ASBL, with the support of luca.

Jan Rydén Bonmot

Artist and writer

Jan Rydén Bonmot is a polymath: writer, designer, strategist and visual artist. He is the author of the bi-lingual artist book "Allborgarrätten. The Right to the City as a Swedish Tradition" (2016). He was formerly at the KTH School of Architecture. 


His work combines art, design and architecture with economic insights and intellectual analysis. He aims to leverage design and innovation to take on complex challenges such as sustainable transformation.



© Jan Rydén Bonmot