Stockholm-based architecture firm Kjellander + Sjöberg won a competition to design the Fjällbäcken urban block in Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden. The design is part of an impressive plan to move the entire town 3 kilometers to the east to avoid the town’s collapse into an iron mine. Kjellander + Sjöberg’s proposed urban block in new Kiruna will maintain the town’s century-old character while introducing an improved and more sustainable framework that includes climate-optimized buildings and rainwater management.
Located 145 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, Kiruna sits atop a rich body of iron and has a subarctic climate with long, cold winters. To mitigate climatic conditions, Kjellander + Sjöberg optimized the urban block’s angular shape for the extreme winter weather. In addition to rooflines designed to handle large snow loads, the architects also included a diagonal public staircase that transforms into a ski slope in winter.
The first phase of the project consists of the new Kiruna Square building cluster and the centrally located town hall. The block’s new housing units are arranged around the green courtyard, Fjällbäcken, which comprises year-round recreational areas for leisure and sport. The sustainability-minded urban development will source natural materials with local character like stone and wood for construction.
Images via Kjellander + Sjöberg