Ärsta Church by Johan Celsing Architects. Simple Beauty. With loadbearing brick the structure of the building is the same as it’s materials. A rare feature these days, speaking of an honesty of detailing and materiality.
There are other eco cities much talked about at the moment Masdar city or Dongtan to name a couple off the top of my head but Hammarby Sjöstad, a redevelopment in Stockholm Sweden is not one of them. It started out as a redevelopment of an old, barely legal, and much contaminated industrial area, part of Stockholm’s 2004 Olympic bid and meant as a sustainable athletes village. They lost the Olympics to Athens but development of Hammarby continued and now it has become a model for other ecological developments over the world. I visited it a few weeks ago and was really impressed. Whereas Dongtan exists only on blogs and in the dreams of paddy fields, Hammarsby is very real. Whereas Masdar city pasted between golf clubs, and an International Airport is a future city in the making, it isn’t about sustainable living now so much as attracting development and business opportunities. Hammarby is about changing the city that you see when you look outside the window now.
Johnathan Glancey in a recent article stated that Stockholm and Helsinki are under threat of getting the ‘world class city’ treatment. This of course is a bad thing because it means a kind of internationalized blandness in the pursuit of some imagined advertisers dream. I was just in Stockholm for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I really loved it, and it definitely qualifies as a ‘world class’ city, while having it’s own distinctive identity. I think its right to identify also that the life blood of a city is people and activity and to a certain extent a little mess, a little accommodation to climate, location and necessity, when someone tries to make your city perfect you know they have already screwed it up. Some of my Stockholm photos are here.
BIG Architects andÂ NOD Landscape Architects have made a major proposal for the Slussen in Stockholm. This area one of the busiest transport interchanges in the city has become increasingly run down and inaccessible to cyclists and pedestrians. But the new proposal would reverse that completely. Watch the video below to see how the proposal would work in practise.
It’s an interesting comparison to make between the Slussen proposal and Helsinkis’ Koivusaari schemes.