1918-1967: National Board of Public Buildings (KBS)

"Low-key design and solid materials..."

At the start of the 20th century, many government agencies and authorities were restructured to meet the demands of the new industrial society. The National Board of Public Buildings was formed in 1918 out of the First Surveyor's Office. Its areas of responsibility were considerably expanded beyond inspection and general oversight. The work was run within various specialist departments. The building office dealt with local planning,issues regarding new building projects and information services. The surveyor's office tackled property management and leasing. The national planning office focused on planning issues and from 1948 the organisation of county architects was responsible for building standards. The office of cultural history was a completely new department responsible for building maintenance and listed historical buildings. In partnership with the National Heritage Board, the National Board of Public Buildings also took over the care of the royal palaces from the Marshal of the Realm. Never before or since have civil state building issues been so centralised as they were between 1918 and 1968. The few state bodies that still retained management of their own buildings and land were the National Fortifications Administration, the Swedish Forest Service and the Swedish Parliament. The head of the National Board of Public Buildings was now called Director-General. The Swedish word for First Surveyor, "överintendent", had by this time already started being used in a different context to mean "director" of the national art museums instead. The first Directors-General were architects: Carl Möller and Ivar Tengbom. After them, mainly administrators were appointed, with certain exceptions. However, the heads of the various offices were some of the nation's leading architects, such as Sigurd Curman, Ragnar Hjorth, Nils Ahrbom and Lennart UhIin. As before, selected architects were brought in for project planning. New projects during this time were characterised by low-key design and solid materials. The finest work of the period came in the growing areas of redevelopment, extension and restoration.