When the University College of Sundsvall/Härnösand was established in 1977, there was no unified solution for premises in Sundsvall. For twenty years, the activities were conducted in more or less temporary premises primarily on Västhagen and in the development centre of Sundsvall.
It wasn’t until the beginning of the 1990s that the plans for a more centralized establishment reached the point of deciding where the University college would be located in the future. The choice fell on Åkroken, the oldest part of Sundsvall and the original town centre. Åkroken – the heart of the campus – is therefore built as a town within the town with alleys and squares, bridges and piers. The beautiful stone houses are reminiscent of Sundsvall’s old stone town and harbour warehouses, thereby preserving a piece of history.
The opening, which took place at the start of the autumn term in 1997, attracted great interest. Some fifty student guides were trained, and they took care of all the curious visitors and showed them around during the first few days. Among other things, there were four days of open house, which attracted nearly 10,000 visitors.
In 2005, Åkroken won the Charter Awards. It is one of the world’s most prestigious urban design awards, and the equivalent of the film industry’s Academy Awards. In 2008, Åkroken won the Philippe Rotthier European Prize of Architecture for Best Campus and Best Urban Neighbourhood.