Somewhat secretively located behind Huddinge city-center, 10 minutes with train from Stockholm, the popular Sjödalsparken is situated. The park has always been a green lung and living room for the people of Huddinge. Throughout a calendar year, many activities and festivals are arranged, including bonfire celebrations, “The Huddinge Days”, Huddinge Jazz and Blues, Midsummer celebrations, and group gymnastics just to name a few things.

Over the years the park has been heavily worn out and had become a park that you passed rather than stayed in, resulting in crisscrossing paths that sliced the open spaces into small patches that was difficult to use. The programs of the park were unclear, and the overall feeling was of a public space without a distinct character. It also had problems with flooding after heavy rains and an impoverished biological and social status.

The entire central area of Huddinge is built on old lake beds, and in the ground is constituted of unstable layers of clay. Before the development of Huddinge center, the site where Sjödalsparken is located was farmland, and the river – “Fullerstaån” flowed through the agricultural landscape in an open ditch. At some point in the 1950s, Fullerstaån was culverted, and an important link in Huddinge’s extensive water system was hidden from the public.

The proposal’s main idea is the park’s two spatial sequences, the people’s park and the landscape park.

The people’s park is based on an ambitious dialogue with the people of Huddinge. Under a series of meetings, they had the chance to pinpoint of what they liked about the park, what could be improved and what was missing. The result is a series of different implementations such as a fine park, a stage, picnic areas, an orchard, spots where people can grow vegetables and a playground. This together creates a sequence of spaces that gives the park a rich and varied character. The different paths are also reduced and by that creates more cohesive surfaces and more distinct places where the paths meet.

The idea behind the landscape park is to make the river – Fullerstaån, visible again. By pumping water from the stream and redirecting it through the park in a system of channels and collection areas – new biotopes, children’s play value, a poetic layer, and not at least an understanding of the presence of water under the park are added. The ambition is to highlight and utilize the resource of the natural watercourse that has been unseen. The landscape park utilizes the park’s basic structure, and the efforts focus on improving existing qualities and implementing new ones where possible. Within the frames of the park significant ecological values are added like the different water regimes and biotopes, meadow areas, various flowering and fruit-bearing shrubs and trees (named as in an arboretum). In addition to all of this, a main purpose was also to manage a large portion of the stormwater from Huddinge center. The park is the lowest point within in the larger context of the landscape and in the middle an open, circular space – a cut grass surface – are situated that works as the center of the park and the buffer zone for the stormwater.

The project shows what effort can be achieved with a hidden value – in this case a secret river under the park. A value that has become the new 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 form 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. A water table – at the park entrance – explains the river and the parks part in a larger connected water system that ends in the sea. The water is pumped up to start to flow in a flume, it then goes over to a Lilly pond and from there flows in a long sequence in an designed stream channel and ends in a more naturalistic looking pond before its flows back into the culvert, cleaner and more oxygen rich. (see diagram for further explanation) This system of 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 and different layers of shrubs and trees. One third of the park’s open field is treated as a meadow. For this and the treatment of the water the project has been recognized by the Swedish government and has received a large donation which was vital for the project’s implementation.

Name of the project: Sjödalsparken

Location: Klockarvägen 2A, 141 47 Huddinge

Design year: 2018-2020

Year Completed: 2022

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