Take-off point

The project started as a competition, in cooperation with Erséus architects in 2001 who designed the new student house. The Student´s house stands at the new entrance to Frescati, the campus area of Stockholm University, and is a main target point for students. There they have the possibility to get information about university activities, courses, studio info, coursework etc. The new building is contemporary and functional with basic forms; two block-shaped volumes with a horizontal expression, built of natural materials, for example wood, stone and green roofs. This was the starting position when designing the surroundings.


The design of the square is strongly linked to its past. When the university was designed in the 60’s, the landscape had a striking character with a structural and modernist design but later in the 70’s the design of the surroundings became freer in its form and content.

The layout of the square is our interpretation of the meeting between these two different landscape characters found on Frescati; The formal modernist design language, expressed on the square surface and a softer garden culture with soft stone paths and freely placed Ornäs birches in the student park. We have in our design clarified, played and interacted with these two temperaments in a new contemporary interpretation.


The square

The building is surrounded by a park, a square, and a walled garden. The visitors are invited to the campus area by the open square in two levels and the generous stairs, leading into the Student’s house, the walled garden and further into the campus. The entrance square has a generous scale to collect and gather visitors from different directions and enable different activities and functions. The floor of the square has been given an expressive and large-scale pattern, to make an impression from a distance. The pattern is created by light and dark concrete blocks mixed with granite, which reflects the stone used in the facade of the building.

The garden and its history

The Frescati campus has a rich garden history, dating from the experimental gardens of the Royal Horticultural Academy in the early 1900s. Mulberry trees, fruit trees and thousands of oak trees were planted, which still carry the memories from those days. The campus also has a rich variation of park trees. The concept for the park is taken from the history, a kind of arboretum. The new trees that are planted is Grey walnut, Silvermarple, Willowtree, Katsura and Robina. The Ornäs birch with dissected leaves, originate from the region of Dalarna in Sweden. The mother tree fell in a storm in 1887, and since then all new saplings originate from trees which were planted in the experimental gardens at Frescati. Two trees from this first propagation are currently available on Frescati.

On the east side of the student house there is a contemplative and quiet student garden. The design of the garden is inspired from another reference to garden history, Hortus conclusus, a walled garden. Within the dark wooden walls hides a green and luscious meeting place, a glade with benches among birches in a carpet of ferns, woodruff and flowering bulbs. The grove of trees consists of Ornäs birches. The garden provides peace and quiet in contrast to the lively surroundings.
Our goal was to enrich the outdoor environment with a living public life that would last over time as well as a place for visitors and students to relax. New, complementary functions were added to support and strengthen the already existing vibrant student life in the new student house and throughout the campus area.

Entrant office name: Nivå Landskapsarkitektur
Website: www.nivaland.se
Other designers involved in the design of landscape:
Architect building: Erseus Arkitekter
Lighting: Strömberg Ingenjörsbyrå Rickard Nährström
Project location (Street, City, Country): Stockholm University, Frescati, Stockholm Sweden
Design year: 2011
Year Built: 2014


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