Däckhuset/det enda rummet

Ur Dackhuset_Det enda rummet_Margot
Däckhuset, Kallebäck. Still from Däckhuset / det enda rummet, Hans Carlsson & Sebastian Dahlqvist

Towards the end of his life, 1960-61, the architect Erik Friberger designed the so-called “Däckhuset” (The Deck House) in Kallebäck, Gothenburg. The house consisted of a three-deck structure in concrete, a car park-like construction in which those who would be living in the house were planning their own homes. The result was a high-rise construction with eighteen individual homes.

In the video Däckhuset / det enda rummet (Däckhuset / The Only Room), made in collaboration with Sebastian Dahlqvist, inhabitants in Friberger’s Däckhus read an excerpt from the famous manifesto Acceptera (“Accept It”) which was written in 1931 by a group of Swedish architects and one art historian (Gunnar Asplund, Wolter Gahn, Sven Markelius, Eskil Sundahl, Uno Åhren and Gregor Paulsson). Acceptera’s authors were, like Friberger, interested in creating better and cheaper living environments for many, though they simultaneously prescribed how a rational life should be lived. Their manifesto ranged from descriptions for a new urban planning and architecture to the rationalization of interior design. I Däckhuset / det enda rummet the inhabitants of the house read from the chapter “The Living Room” from the Acceptera-manifesto.

Friberger had for a long time experimented with modern architecture with mobile features, which would to some extent take into account the individual’s need for flexibility and change. An example of this was the work he developed with the company AB Fribärande Träkonstruktioner, an “element house,” a summerhouse, which could be built in a selectable location and which walls, ceilings, windows and other details could be adapted to the customer’s taste. The cottage, similar to a pavilion, was shown in the exhibition “Fritiden” (“Leisure time”) in Ystad (1936).

Despite the ambitions to create a flexible architecture, Friberger, in regards to urban planning, architecture and interior design, was very loyal to the ideal of the Swedish modern architecture. In a speech at Tekniska samfundet (The Technical Society in Gothenburg) in 1921 Friberger stated that the biggest problem with Swedish architecture was its lack of major architectural ambitions. To come to terms with this problem Friberger suggested that cities should be characterized by homogeneity and simplicity and that the same rationality should permeate the homes of Sweden. Friberger thought of architecture as disciplinary: it should teach people how to get a good life, through the improvements of their living conditions. The home would be characterized by functional solutions for a comfortable life, less time should be spent on domestic labour. The individual would take responsibility for her situation, for example by consuming more, but only useful functional things. The non-functional everyday objects would be removed, these objects were according to the architect: “a wasted capital” and a “dead load that takes too much energy and time to carry with oneselves throughout life.

Ur Dackhuset_Det enda rummet2
Still from Däckhuset / det enda rummet