16 February 2022

Capella building maintenance

“Starting a new programme is tough, but it has been huge fun and we have definitely got it right. Fifty applicants for twelve places speaks for itself”, summarises a pleased Bodil Anjar, principal of Capellagården, as the end of the first term of the new course in building conservation comes towards an end. The course is a collaboration between Öland Folk High School, Himmelsberga/Öland Museum, and Capellagården.

The one year programme is based on Carl Malmsten’s teaching method “learning by doing”. The timetable includes courses in architecture and settlement history, as well as timber construction, roofing, bricklaying and painting; all alternating with real-life projects. During the autumn, the students have laid a turf roof, mended a timber wall, and restored windows and a rotten gable end.

The turf is taken up.

Student lays a turf roof.

“At the moment, they are working in one of the19th century buildings here at Capella, putting up new suspended paper ceilings, wallpapering, and painting with egg tempera and linseed oil paint.

And in Sörgården, one of the older houses at Capella which in the early 1960s was furnished as a student residence by Carl Malmsten’s son Vidar Malmsten, one of the rooms will be refurbished according to his designs.

“Sörgården”. Photo: Finn Eskelin Milton, Anna-Josefin Segerström

“Mellangården”. Photo: Andreas Kihlberg, Gunnar Dahlström

Carl Malmsten wanted to start a course in building conservation at Capella already back in 1964. The school was only a couple of years old and the different buildings were gradually renovated together with the students. But Carl Malmsten and his colleagues were also horrified over how many houses were destroyed and disfigured around Öland.

At this time, old boathouses were demolished, thatched roofs were replaced by corrugated iron, and eternit tiles were nailed on wooden facades.

Carl Malmsten saw the importance of  protecting and conserving heritage buildings, and two building teams with six pupils in each were formed. During five weeks in summer they worked with various renovation projects on the island.

“There was no continuation, no programme, but their commitment is something we now take into account”, says Bodil Anjar.

Formally, today’s students of building conservation are registered at Öland Folk High School, which finances the course. But the tuition takes place at Capella and Himmelsberga, with Victoria Brännström as responsible teacher.

In the spring, the first group of students are doing work experience at various building conservators. They can then choose orientation with view to their continued profession.

“There is a vast need for building conservators. People today think more about preserving and restoring, and a generation shift is taking place. So our programme will definitely carry on!”, Bodil Anjar concludes.


Text: Dan Gordan

Read more at capellagarden.se