Somewhat secretively nestled behind the city center of Huddinge, lies the popular Sjödalsparken. The park is the green lung for the people of Huddinge, an everyday used public space and meeting spot on weekends for socializing and picnics. The park hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as the Walpurgis night celebration, Huddinge Jazz and Blues Festival, Midsummer celebrations, and group gymnastics just to name a few things.

Huddinge lies south of Stockholm; and a big part of the city is built on old lake beds. Before the development of Huddinge center, the site was farmland, and the river Fullersta flowed through the agricultural landscape in an open ditch. At some point in the 1950s, the stream was culverted, and an important link in Huddinge’s extensive water system was hidden from the public.

The design of Sjödalsparken aims to showcase and utilize the natural watercourse that was previously hidden. The proposal utilizes the park’s basic structure, and the efforts mainly focuses on improving existing qualities and adding new ones where possible. The proposal’s main idea is the park’s two spatial sequences, the landscape park and the people’s park.

The idea behind the landscape park is to make the stream visible. By pumping water from the stream underneath and redirecting it through the park in a system of channels and collection areas – new biotopes, children’s play value, a layer of sensuality, and not least an understanding of the presence of water under the park are added. The west-east sequence draws inspiration from the traditional Swedish people’s park. These parks originates from the mid 19th century and were established as a way to provide entertainment, music, and cultural events for the working class, often featuring live music, dance, theater, and other performances. This is where the entrance area, the perennial garden, the stage, picnic areas, and the orchard are located.

The project shows what effort you can achieve with a hidden value – in this case a secret river under the park. A value that has become the parks most significant feature. In a way it is a restoration of the existing landscape. In this valley, where Sjödalsparken is situated, a river has streamed long before there were humans here. Now it’s alive again but in a new shape where a series of different water elements brings new experiences and perspective of the water and the park. A water experience that goes from artificial to natural, starting with a flume and ending with a pond. The water is not only a poetic narrative of the park it also adds ecological value. Overall, the ecological aspects and reuse of material is central in the project. The paving stones have been recycled, the existing furniture are reused and supplemented with Huddinge’s longest park sofa and new picnic groups that has been specially designed for this project and inspired by the existing park sofas. But there is also reuse in a spatial form. The new proposal preserves the basic structure of the park and the efforts mainly focus on improving existing qualities and adding new ones where possible. New ecological values ​​are added to the existing framework of vegetation through the construction of meadow areas, different layers of shrubs and trees. One third of the park’s open field is treated as a meadow. For this the project has been recognized by the Swedish government and has received a large donation which was vital for the project’s implementation.

In the end, the transformation of Sjödalsparken has been success overall. The new design highlighted the natural watercourse, creating new biotopes, children’s play areas, and a deeper connection to the presence of water within the park. The project not only restored the existing landscape but also added new elements that enhanced the overall experience for visitors.

The reuse of materials, furniture, and spatial forms showcased the commitment to sustainability and environmental consciousness. The park now offers a unique blend of artificial and natural water elements, from a flume to a pond, providing a diverse and engaging water experience for all who visited.
Overall, the revitalization of Sjödalsparken is a testament to the power of hidden values and the potential for transformation. A transformation into a park that is not only a green lung for the city but hopefully also a source of inspiration and pride for the whole community.

Client: Huddinge municipality, Camilla Fransson.

Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Michael Hallbert (lighting), Robert Jönsson & Peter Ridderstolpe (WRS, External W&S), Eva Åberg (project manager) and Greens Anläggning AB (contractor).

Photo credits: Drone photos: Björn Bergman, other photos: Ulf Lundin.

Location: Huddinge, Sweden. 59.23644885009518, 17.984387115703868

Design year: 2018-2020

Year Completed: 2020-2021


LILA 2024 Sponsor