The Stenhöga block is located at Solna’s southwestern entrance, where Huvudstaleden connects to Frösundaleden, north of Stockholm. It is an accessible, central location with good public transport connections that in recent years have made the area attractive for residents and business establishments. Existing buildings within the Stenhöga block, referred to as ‘Stora Blå’ (Big Blue), consist of large, blue, corrugated iron structures with a simple, clear design vernacular. Humlegården Fastigheter owns the entire block and is developing it by building a new hotel (designed by 3XN Architects) and two new office buildings for around 1,500 people (Tham Videgård). Additional plans are in place to further develop new office spaces in what are currently warehouses.
All in all, the development encompasses over 60,000 sqm of land and provides 4,000 workplaces. LAND’s task has been to weave together the entire area with a common landscape design. Prior to development, the entire block was closed to the street. It is now open with free flow of people from all directions. What were large parking areas have been converted into walkways, blue-green stormwater solutions and pocket parks, providing users with generous public spaces. LAND have been engaged in the project from the initial detailed development plan and were instrumental in setting the project’s framework. The first phases of the project have now been built.
In terms of design, a sequence of vegetated and hard surfaces has been established between the buildings, connecting the most important locations within the block to each other. The sequence creates several new spaces and meeting places and improves orientability. The basis of the design is a faceted pattern consisting of site-cast concrete. The site-cast concrete responds to the buildings in a light, harmonious manner whilst meeting requirements for heavy vehicles around the buildings. The size of the pattern varies across the site; at entrances and places of residence the pattern’s scale contracts and on main thoroughfares it expands. Where possible, the material within the pattern changes with grass and gravel surfaces replacing the concrete. Large planting areas are located against the facades of the buildings. These are raised due to underlying concrete construction and consist of Corten steel cut to angles and heights to create a rhythm and dialogue with the buildings. The foundation requirements of the large building volumes have resulted in a common finished floor level across the buildings. All level differences between the building and existing elements and roads have been taken up in the landscape design. Walls of Corten steel have been instrumental in creating a cohesive impression and in some instances have been used to house the site’s utilities.
The first stage that has been built, with Tham Videgård as the building architect, has been nominated in 2020 for the Swedish Architects’ Kasper Sahlin prize. The below is an excerpt from the jury’s citation: “As an addition to a neighborhood under expansion, the office buildings mark a central point in the neighborhood. The architect creates large urban and spatial qualities with few downsides through clearly sculpted volumes, on a scale well balanced for the site. Moving through the block will thus be comfortable and enjoyable.”
Architecture offices involved in the design (if any): 3XN Architects. Tham & Videgård Arkitekter
Project location: Röntgenvägen 2, 171 54 Solna, Sweden
Design year: 2016
Year Built: 2018