Jubileumsparken (Play & Learn Park and Blue Park) by + +

2024 Public Projects / Sweden / Built in 2023 /

Jubileumsparken is situated in the heart of Gothenburg, Sweden. It is one of the city’s largest park projects and a fantastic way to celebrate the city’s 400th anniversary in 2023. Besides the anniversary, the park serves as a meeting place and an outdoor living room for people with different backgrounds and interests. Through employment, management, public engagement, and activities the park significantly contributes to integration in a segregated city.
Jubileumsparken is a park built in several stages year after year. The essence of the project is about experimentation, learning, public participation, and collaboration. It is about prototyping in public space and then scaling it up in a larger landscape.
To the wider public the process started in 2013 with a series of temporary installations. Building together with the public has been a reoccurring theme thereafter. In 2016 work began on Play & Learn Park and Blue Park, the permanent parts.

About Play & Learn Park

In Play & Learn Park, we realized the ideas tested with the prototypes and created a diverse landscape composed of several spaces. The design of the park positions primary movement and circulation routes parallel to the shorelines, the backbones of the park. Thereafter the park is constructed via a series of free formed park glades – the spectator lawn, play spaces, park areas, water treatment areas etc. In the core of the park, one can find shelter from noise, light, and traffic, from the wind and rain, and instead, experience a glimpse of urban nature that is both playful and restoring. Physically, this meant remodelling the existing terrain to a series of spatial pockets and passages enclosed by mounds and vegetation. This new landscape can sink, set, bend, shrink or expand in various directions as years pass. The glade structure safeguards a form of modularity that came in to its own when the project budget was almost halved prior to tendering. Several glades were removed without detriment to the overall structure of the park.

As the newly planted vegetation grows, the visual impression of the park changes, as does the composition of species found on site. The proposal uses the existing composition and habitats as a foundation to create a park landscape that enhances bird and insect diversity. The vegetation needs to attract appropriate wildlife, provide shelter, create possibilities for play, and meet the expectations of the visitors for decades to come. The plantings as well as materials such as cobblestones, boulders and rocks, details in metal and concrete all relate to the site’s post-industrial heritage.

About Blue Park

Between the park and the water are a series of new boardwalks that run along the waterfronts. They have a universal design and extend the park experience out over the water and on to the floating pools. Public baths were once an intense place for social gatherings in our cities. They were places not only for relaxation and sport but also for politics, discussion, business deals, eroticism, and hedonism. This has been substituted with the bleaker and leisure-based swimming pools and spas. We see the baths as a social space that allow people to meet, spend time together and discuss life. The sensorial qualities of the baths provide us with a place where there is no competition, consumption, or spectacle, but where the focus is purely on sharing and enjoying life, together.

The choice of materials enhances the intended dramaturgy for visitors to the bath. Cold and weathered metal on the outside of the sauna seamlessly integrates with the areas post-industrial vernacular. The boardwalks and the buildings that follow the shoreline recall floating pieces of wood drifting into the harbor.

About the Process

There are many layers of information accessible when working with urban regeneration, layers that cannot be discovered from regular plans and brief site visits. The multidisciplinary project groups worked together in the harbor over several years thereby radically changing the collective perception of Frihamnen. Dealing with places 1:1 enabled us all to discover and understand the site and provided an open forum to develop new methods and initiate new processes. We got to know the people who already use the area and they helped us think logically and rationally about the project. A somewhat challenging situation when presented with a sea of asphalt.
As part of the prototype works preceding both parks the teams set out to plan and build together with the people who will in the future use and manage them. It was an opportunity to bring people from different social classes and with different ethnic backgrounds together. The idea was to give them the chance to create their own space in the city. Prototyping over several years has also made it possible to engage with the city and other experts over extended periods of time. This approach highlights the importance of landscape architects’ role not only in the design and detailing, but also in the construction, management, and maintenance of public spaces. It is these experimental, yet pioneering, works that position Jubileumsparken quite uniquely in terms sustainability and social inclusion.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape: atelier le balto, Raumlabor, New Order

Architecture offices involved in the design: Raumlabor, Esencial

Location: Frihamnen, Gothenburg, Sweden

Design year: 2016-2021

Year Completed: 2023


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