Architecture and Compensation : Renewal and Expansion of the City Library in Gothenburg
Paper in proceeding, 2022

The paper deals with renewal and preservation in a combined architectural and detailed development planning project, including cultural values and architectural qualities. The focus is on how compensatory actions, cultural values and architectural qualities are expressed in the expansion of the City Library in Gothenburg. In this case, the detailed development plan regulates both land use and architectural design. The transformation of the City Library occurred in an area with heritage values of national interest.

The objective is to investigate, analyse and discuss compensation in architecture and planning processes. The specific goal is to produce knowledge on how key players practise compensation and understand heritage values and architectural qualities. The research is based on a single case study. From a selection of 39 contemporary, detailed development plans obtained from the City Planning Office in Gothenburg, one plan has been chosen for investigation in this paper. The motive behind this selection is that the expansion provides both an interesting background to quality issues and raises important questions concerning the renewal of a public building at a site of great value for citizens.

Key documents in the case study have been analysed through close reading. Knowledge has also been developed through analyses of drawings, illustrations, site visits and discussions at seminars.

The detailed development plan can be understood both as a product and a process. Seen as a product, compensatory measures are embedded in the plan as fixed regulations to support renewal as well as to safeguard values and architectural qualities. These regulations concern both land use and architectural design. Compensatory thinking as part of the planning process is expressed through changes based on comments from key actors, starting with the design of the expansion of the library, and is continued in the transformation to make the renewal possible through the detailed development plan.



Detailed development plan





Magnus Rönn

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Design

Compensation in Architecture and Archaeology – On Compensation as a Project, Method and Professional Practice

978-91-983911-3-8 (ISBN)

Widening Horizons,
Kiel, Germany,

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories


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