Located in the municipality of Solna, Järvastaden is one of Stockholm’s many new urban neighborhoods. The first residents moved in during September, 2017, and by 2025, the area will have a population of 15,000 and accommodate over 5,000 new dwellings. Spegeldammsparken was planned with the aim of creating a collective space capable of giving this new area a sense of identity. Constructed before much of Järvastaden’s housing was even begun, the park was developed in order that the area might benefit from the very start from public space’s capacity to produce identity and sociality.
The design of the park draws loosely upon the English landscape garden tradition and its picturesque rolling hills; it also takes as a model the continental European tradition and particularly the landscape architecture of Barcelona in the late 1980s. Bridges, pavilions, and benches exert a greater influence than usually seen in Swedish park design—it is the relation between these built elements that produces the park’s character. Such an approach is warranted in Järvastaden, as a newly established area lacking a strong sense of place. The park’s extensive, stylized design explores and plays with the relation between built elements and more unruly vegetation.
Spegeldammsparken is conceived of as a classical city park, albeit of a new type. An undulating lawn, the core of the design, is transected by two strategic axes, resulting in a highly legible form that produces a sense of security in visitors’ everyday use of the space. Where the gently rolling landscape meets these axes, sharp, wavelike incisions are produced, a design language that is also picked up in the fencing surrounding the park, which provides a sense of intimacy and enclosure. A reflecting pond is located in the park’s center (a “spegeldamm” in Swedish, which gives the park its name). Native aquatic vegetation in the pond contributes to the treatment of storm water—the integration of storm water into the park’s design deepens visitors’ experiences of the park, and also provides water for a small arboretum that teaches the visitor about Swedish tree varieties. The open, rolling lawn invites play and picnicking in the sun. Three pavilions are located in the park, each with a roof of oak shingles—in addition to the long, low, solid oak and concrete benches, these pavilions provide the choice of relaxing in either shade or sun. The park also accommodates two playgrounds: one for infants, and one which provides a more protected, teenage “hang-out” space that is set slightly apart from the play area. The site’s northern boundary provides space for car boot sales and vegetable markets, and the square that adjoins the park provides spaces for alfresco dining, interfacing with the park via a series of traditional perennial flower beds.
The design of Spegeldammsparken began with the desire to create a clear series of relationships between an urban square, a park, and a number of key pedestrian paths transecting the site. The park maintains clear connections to surrounding streets, and the boundary between the park and street is delineated via fencing that reflects the undulating form of the park’s striking lawns and helps to direct flows around and into the park without feeling exclusionary. The meeting between the park and the square engages in a visual play that makes use of an inverse perspective to produce sequences in the paving and built elements (bridges and pavilions) that recall the picturesque traditions of English landscape garden design. In the winter, the snow-covered elements continue to provide the visitor with a sculptural experience of the park.
Storm water management, including local treatment and public pedagogy, has constituted a high priority in the development of the new area of Järvastaden. We worked in collaboration with consultants WRS in this; for us, to clearly demonstrate the biological processes behind storm water treatment was central. It was important that the design produced an awareness of this technical, municipal system, and harnessed it as a design element. The undulating lawn is similarly functional, accommodating a great number of visitors in a limited space, an attitude to design that is further reflected in the way in which expected flows are channeled through the park’s movement network.
Entrant office name: Nivå Landskapsarkitektur
Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Lighting: Energo Retea
Project location (Street, City, Country): Spegeldammsparken, Stockholm, Sweden
Design year: 2009
Year Built: 2014