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An architect, a book, a historian Ragnar Östberg and Elias Cornell

The paper explores the experiences and the ways in which two Swedish personalities such as the architect Ragnar Östberg (1866-1945) and the Teacher of architecture-art at Chalmers Tekniska Högskolan (Göteborg) Elias Cornell (1916-2008) articulated and asserted their firm belief in reflecting on the past in building an architectural vocabulary proper to the locus, the time and specific requirements. The paper proposed aims to analyze their books and forceful statements showing the incisiveness of their thoughts and appreciating the importance of their legacy, not only on the Swedish scene. Any researcher wishing to explore the Swedish panorama should devote time to their thoughts and lectures. The peak of their metaphorical encounter comes with the monograph that Elias Cornell dedicates to the Stockholm Stadshuset architect, entitled "Ragnar Östberg svensk arkitekt" (1965). Until now this has been the last word on Östberg’s evolving idiom. Yet this valuable study has not been accessible to everyone: it is still not available to the English-speaking readership. As happened in the past when art philanthropists chose their favourite artist, so the Swedish historian apparently sought the architect who was on the closest wavelength to himself. C. Caldenby (2005) gets the gist when he states: "in the monograph on Ragnar Östberg there seems to be an identification when Cornell writes that Östberg’s importance lay rather in his discarding 19th century cosmopolitanism by simplifying building to accord with national and handicraft conditions as well as in his work as an eminent – and accordingly disputed - architectural writer and educator”.

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