As people flock to cities for new opportunities, designers around the world are faced with the challenging task of creating new places for them to live, work and play - without degrading quality of life. In Sweden, Anders Berensson Architects have devised a brilliant new plan that includes maximum urban density, green rooftop terraces and a sky walk park that will be the city's longest. Commissioned by Stockholm Centre Party to design a new neighborhood on top of the train tracks next to Stockholm Central Station, the architects envision a city with thin towers constructed to staggered heights with plenty of foliage and natural light.
The idea behind the new waterfront development is to accommodate the maximum number of people without undue environmental impact. Anders Berensson Architects aim to ensure at least 90 percent of occupants in the new neighborhood, which will comprise 5,800 apartments, 8,000 offices and about 300 retail facilities, will enjoy views of nearby Lake Mälaren. To achieve this and optimize natural light, they will stagger the height of towers. Every other tower will rise to just four storeys, with rooftop courtyards to maximize green space, while others will rise to seven.
“The proposal is apartment buildings scaled down to its smallest component, one stairwell surrounded by apartments to get the smallest footprint possible,” the architects said in a recent press release. “With these smaller volumes, the design can be more flexible and adapt to parameters such as views, sight lines and light conditions and still get more living space. The design also makes larger parts of the area accessible to the public since both courtyards and roof terraces is crossed by public paths.”
The sky walk, which consists of a super-long bridge connecting the various rooftop terraces, is perhaps the most exciting element of this pioneering urban design. Instead of alienating people from the built environment, the design team have made the latter accessible and aesthetically-pleasing, allowing city dwellers to explore their environs from above.
“The new city area will be the highest and densest in Stockholm,” according to the architects. “Because of the areas [sic] location the firm believes it is a suitable area for higher buildings given that in the present situation there is [sic] very few apartments next to the area that will be negatively affected from shading or blocked views.”
Even if this project is not realized, we believe the design is worth considering as a model for future planners – not only in Stockholm, but other cities as well.