Sprucing up Slussen

Niki May Young
Wednesday 25 Mar 2009

5 designs showcased for transformation of Stockholm district

A generational divide is evident within the shortlisting of five teams of architects to battle for the redesign of Stockholm’s new hub. The long-established and acclaimed talents of Jean Nouvel with Mia Hägg, Lord Norman Foster and the offices of Swedish architects Carl Nyrén and Gert Wingårdhs are challenged by the youth and ambition of BIG’s Bjarke Ingels in the design for the regeneration of Slussen.

Ingels is steadily but surely becoming a respected member of the architecture community, creating extraordinary socially and environmentally impactive thematic designs at an international level. Up against such heavyweights as Nouvel and Foster, and the local design talents of Nyrén and Wingårdhs, the Danish architect has produced a respectfully non-indulgent design for the Slussen competition within the diameters provided for the competition.

The Slussen regeneration is part of Stockholm’s Vision 2030 initiative which encompasses the regeneration of several areas of the city as well as incorporating numerous social and economic advancements. After 70 years of wear and tear, it was decided in 2007 that the Slussen locks areabe renovated and reconstructed, making it the natural hub of the entire region and creating new links with Stadsgården and Skeppsbron.

Architects were presented with a challenging base to work off. The local topography is difficult and characterized by the proximity to a fault in the bedrock which runs in an east/west direction in the southern part of the area. Surrounding areas are deposited with mud and sharp drops ensuring that bridging will be no easy task.

Nouvel’s design, co-created by french firm Habiter Autrement's Mia Hägg, is composed of a six step plan including a Dance Center, Bus Terminal and Green Belt park around the theme of ‘Meeting Lines’. This analogy is based on Slussen’s historic claim as the most important trade and meeting point in Stockholm.

Foster + Partners’ design gives priority to pedestrians and cyclists with a bridge concept designed to ‘stitch’ the two communities of Södermalm and Gamla Stan, on opposite banks, together. Spencer de Gray, Head of Design at Foster + Partners said: "Our proposal seeks to redress the problem that Slussen has become. It will create a strong relationship between Södermalm and Gamla Stan, providing a new destination that knits into the urban DNA of Stockholm. "

A decision as to who will push forward their designs following this detailed consultation process is due in 2010 with construction commencing in 2012 with projected completion in 2018.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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