When it comes to sustainability, reusing something that already exists is usually better than creating something new. The same goes for architecture, a fact that a local Stockholm firm exemplified with its newly unveiled project, which turned a 1990s office building into a series of apartments with a green roof.

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A streetview of an apartment complex with a light brown colored facade and windows.

Dubbed “Vintertullstorget,” the project was able to preserve the existing concrete structure rather than knocking it down and starting from scratch, reducing the need for excessive construction materials and labor. Instead, they chose to remodel the building and add three new stories, a first-level grocery store and a parking garage meant for both cars and bicycles.

Related: A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

To the left, an entryway with black and while tile flooring. To the right, a white hallway with light colored flooring.

The result was a transformed building with 77 new apartments. The green roof combines wood, grass and plants to create a hidden oasis for residents. Inside, the main lobby hallway highlights black and white tiles and ample lighting with glass entrance doors. Individual apartments feature a shared portion of the wrap-around outdoor balcony as well as spacious, dark marble bathrooms, massive windows and a full kitchen. To give residents a better view, the balconies face a green courtyard.

A large window with yellow curtains, looking out onto a cityscape.

The exterior is painted in neutral shades of beige and dark gray, though the unique shape of the cascading terraces and windows helps give it a contemporary look. According to the architects, they responded to challenges from the recent coronavirus pandemic by allowing future residents to influence designers with custom features for individual apartments. 

A green roof with a sitting area for socializing.

The project also recycled existing elements of the building. Designers found ways to disassemble and reuse marble from the tiles, iron from the railings, glass from the doors and lighting fixtures in multiple applications throughout construction. Apart from the repurposed character of the project, however, the sustainability aspect is most apparent in the building’s green roof; it works as an outdoor space, but also as a rainwater buffer for the building. 

+ Urban Couture Arkitekter

Photography by Johan Fowelin