The Swedish Museum of Architecture

Bedazzled by bikes at the architecture museum.

bikes in the architecture museum

The Swedish Museum of Architecture is housed in what used to be the drill hall when the island of Skeppsholmen was a naval base. When the base was decommissioned the drill hall was originally turned into the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna Museet). It was in 1998 when the Museum of Modern Art got a new modern building that the old drill hall was handed over to the Museum of Architecture.

I’d spent most of the day looking at the amazing sculptures in Millesgården, the former home of sculptor Carl Milles, and then gone straight to late-night opening at the Moderna Museet. So I was feeling pretty tired, hungry and arted-out.

But as I still had an hour before closing time and a ticket that allowed me entry into the Museum of Architecture, which is right next door, I couldn’t resist popping in.

I was glad I did and ended up staying until closing time.

The main exhibition hall had an exibition on cycling and all things bike.

IMG_8256IMG_8257I particularly liked this bamboo bike.

bamboo bike
Bamboo bicycle with frame from Ghana, 2014

The information panel pointed out that bamboo is strong, versatile, cheap and fast-growing; all attributes that make the bikes ecological, sustainable, recyclable and energy-efficient to produce. Although bamboo bikes date back to 1894, these attributes make them perfect for answering today’s issues of global climate change, poverty and unemployment.

I want a bamboo bike.

smoothie making bikeI also want a bike like this. One where I can make myself a smoothie as I cycle along.

Or maybe I can install a coffee machine instead?

bike with sidecarThis push-bike comes with a motorbike-style sidecar attached.

I’m not sure I’d want to pedal a passenger around, but if I had a bike like this I’m sure I could convert the sidecar into an office or bedroom.

military dog bikeThis is a Swedish military bike from 1950. It was used by a dog-handler who would sit his dog on the little platform.

I’m thinking it would make a great table or desk.

orange trikeAnd then there was this one. An all-enclosed trike. It’s orange, so I wouldn’t change a thing.

The exhibition wasn’t all bedazzling bikes, but had a serious and informative side too.

This diagram shows how most road planners assign usage of the road systems. It contrasts it with a much more ideal way where bikes and pedestrians come first, rather than cars.

road use planningThe information panel pointed out that although bikes used to be seen as a means of transport for the less well-off and as a way of giving access to public spaces for all classes, they are now much more likely to be seen as a social signifier identifying the middle-classes. Encouraging a cycle culture that includes all classes should be a priority for every city.

Besides the bike exbibition there was also an exhibition on the design of buildings, but it was getting late by this time and I had to rush through it.

architecture museumI did learn how the use of space in our homes has changed over the decades. No-one really has a parlour anymore for example. Also kitchens, which used to be the heart of the home, shrank in size with the advent of technology in the 1950s – the future was seen to involve the mere reheating or rehydrating of food rather than actual cooking, and the kitchens reflected this, giving more space to leisure rooms instead.

I finally left the museum and made my way, with aching feet and a rumbling belly, back to the hostel. I’d had a whole day immersed in sculpture, art and architecture.

I was knackered.

But boy, was I feeling cultured.


Author: Anne

Join me in my journey to live a life less boring, one challenge at a time. Author of the forthcoming book 'Walking the Kungsleden: One Woman's Solo Wander Through the Swedish Arctic'.

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