First major commission promising...

18 Feb 2010

New London architecture firm win planning for architectural skatepark in Sweden

Designs by a recently established architecture practice for a new activity park in a UNESCO World Heritage site in Falun, Sweden have been given the go ahead. Located in the surrounding landscape of the Great Copper Mountain in the west of Falun city centre, the design of the new park attempts to mediate between the strong character of the historical landscape, and the particular user requirements of the park - its main use is a skateboard park.

"The Great Copper Mountain and its cultural landscape at Falun graphically illustrate one of the most significant areas of mining and metals production," reads the UNESCO statement of significance. The area's history is reflected in the designs, by young London practice 42 architects, which show the park methodically carved out of the land. Covering a site area of 6,200 sq m, the park design consists of a main concrete and granite-clad area for skateboarding, along with areas of grass, plants, gravel paths and mounds of slag that create areas for general public use. The park is intended to become a new cultural meeting space in the city where the rich history of the mining landscapes meets the modern, expressive and youthful culture of skateboarding.

The park is now going through a public tender process, and is expected to complete in summer 2010.

42 architects is a young and design-driven practice based in London, UK, established by Johan Berglund. Having studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL he won the UCL Sir Bannister Fletcher Medal for the highest grade in diploma, as well as winning a commendation for the RIBA Silver Medal awards along with the iGuzzini and SOM travel awards. Berglund has since acquired extensive experience from large public projects in Sweden, the UK and the Middle East.

Talking of the pressures of finding work today, Berglund said: "I think that increasingly architects are expecting that projects will 'turn up', which is not how things work for most, especially a young practice like ours that doesn't have a substantial track record.

"Therefore we have found that by going out and using strategic media channels to promote an idea about a place, we can actually generate projects from scratch. In a way the process reminds more of the way you operate as a student, by critically examining and challenging existing contexts and provoking a change, but the difference is that we do this with our professional experience as a more solid and convincing foundation. So I suppose that considering the profession is going through a difficult financial time - and I must say the timing of us setting up in practice was difficult! - it is imperative to keep on your toes."

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