"Built in the mid-1930s, Slussen is a prime candidate for a re-examination of large-scale Modernist planning. Designed to link two sides of the historic city, its concrete entry ramps curl around a cylindrical office building before stretching over an underground bus terminal and the massive locks that regulate boat traffic between Lake Malaren and the Baltic Sea.
In some ways the weaving of a mind-numbing range of transportation systems into a single integrated network made the project a tour de force. But the structure began to deteriorate decades ago, partly because of the poor quality of its concrete construction. Most planners regard it as a lesson in everything that was wrong with orthodox Modernism: endless swaths of barren concrete plazas and dank underpasses that seemed to invite midday muggings.
The competition encourages us to ponder those values with a fresh, unbiased eye. The most intriguing of the five designs can be separated more or less into two categories: those that try to bring clarity and order to the jumbled traffic systems, and those that seek to draw the bustling energy of the old city across the site."