Indoor Park in Stockholm Shrouded in Glass
Stockholm, like many other cities, has a major need for more non-commercial public indoor environments. Utopia Arkitekter wants to start a discussion in Stockholm: how do we manage and develop our public spaces? The park is the first in a series of proposals for Stockholm's development and is co-financed by the Swedish Federation of Glazing Contractors (Glasbranschföreningen) and the Swedish Wood Building Council (Träbyggnadskansli).
The problem with our cities adopting more commercial indoor public spaces such as shopping malls, cafés or restaurants, is that the “public” is no longer represented by “all the people of an area,” simply due to economic restrictions. In a city like Stockholm, where darkness and temperatures below 10 degrees celsius prevail for 6 months of the year, the economic boundaries set up around indoor public spaces mean reduced opportunities for people to socialize outside of the home. Utopia Arkitekter’s proposal in response to this conundrum? An indoor park. The ventilated type dominated the market in 2015 and is expected to witness a modest growth as this type of wall coverings shield buildings against the combined action of wind and rain. These facades counter balance the result of water beating on walls and, thus, keep the building dry. This product also provides heat insulation and sound proofing to the building interior and is expected to further catapult demand over the next few years.
Their proposed indoor park would be a 23-meter-tall construction, reaching the height of the eaves on surrounding buildings, spanned over an area of 1,500 square meters. It would be supported by a slender timber construction, and clad in glass vaults to achieve maximum transparency and maintain a rapport with the external context. This, along with the building’s large passages and entrances linked to existing pathways, would be the primary methods of integration, given that the building’s form itself—6 organic morphing vaults—has little correspondence with the existing architecture in the area.
The vaulted glass construction will also be “climate smart,” with highly energy efficient heating and cooling systems. How exactly the materials are sustainable is unspecified, although there is mention of resistance and recyclability. Utopia Arkitekter is considering reusing excess heat emitted from the underground station and garage beneath Sankt Eriksplan to warm the park in colder months.
Sankt Eriksplan’s proposed indoor park is built upon the idea of being non-commercial and open to all, but Utopia Arkitekter also have plans in mind for “social enterprises” that could cover running management costs. Utopia Arkitekter’s proposal is exciting and, if realized, could certainly have the potential to become an icon of the area and strengthen our shared-by-all public spaces.