Loggbok Gruvstadsparken (Log Book The Mining City Park)

What happens to all the memories as a whole town is dismantled and moved? In the northern Swedish city of Kiruna, more than two thousand tons of demolition material from residential buildings are transformed into a mnemonic landscape with traces of the former flats, courtyards and walking paths. I, Karl Tuikkanen and Ingo Vetter link history to the present with the artistic interpretation ”Loggbok”.
In 2001, the City of Kiruna realised that the town had to be removed. It was decided that a zone was required between the city and the mine. In 2011, Karl Tuikkanen, Ingo Vetter and I were given the commission of the City of Kiruna, the Public Art Agency Sweden, the Swedish National Heritage Board, the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, and ArkDes (Architecture and Design Centre) to work with the forming of the city’s departed site. As the mine is expanding, a large part of Kiruna will be dismantled, moved and rebuilt. It is a large-scale long-term transformation that will take many years. The initial houses closest to the mine were demolished in the spring of 2015. The first part of our visualisation was inaugurated in October 2015.
Gruvstadsparken is the new city park emerging as a buffer zone between the mine and the community. The old house foundations are recreated in their original locations with gabions – a kind of large steel baskets being filled with crushed tiles and concrete from the demolished houses. A park is gradually created along with the destruction of the old town, hereby making visible the transformation of Kiruna. Building foundations, separate entrances, flats and specific rooms are being marked; the structure of the city with its roads and locations is there, but the architecture is nowadays an echo of the buildings and their positions in the form of low cubistic structures of gabions. Memories are here being archived through movement patterns and materials during the short period in which the public may use the park. In a few years, the crack formations of the mine will have expanded and the industrial fence will have to be further moved towards the city. The park will then end up within the mining area of the industrial company LKAB which will have to close it to visitors. Although the gabion structures will remain visible for decades, slowly taken over by nature, forming a monumental logbook over the metamorphosis of Kiruna.