A green oasis

Tuesday 06 Sep 2011

Sandy peninsula transformed into lush inner-city park

The Sandgrund Park in Karlstad, Sweden, has undergone a major change from being an unused peninsula of sand, transforming into an attractive park in the middle of the city. The new park now offers lush valleys, viewpoints and extensive boardwalks by the river.

The Klar River has its source in the Scandean Mountains. At the point where the river splits, a 400-metre-long peninsula forms what from the air looks like a bird's pointed beak. The peninsula has a powerful setting and is a place of drama. The presence of water, the dramatic end point and the urban setting were the most obvious features here. The designers' concept became to amplify those same qualities for the future park. Along the river's edge, the proximity to the water was further stressed through a system of boardwalks on the western shore, facing the sunset. The very end was given a sharper profile by adding a 40-metre-long viewing platform.

The grounds were shaped as undulating terrain with five parallel ridges, about 100m long. The ridges were designed to offer green viewpoints along their crests, and contained valleys in between. Each other valley was designed to be a distinct plant habitat, a beech forest, a magnolia grove, a fern valley. The others were made into activity areas for rest and play, formed by grass and low granite steps marking the contour lines.

The park was awarded the recognition Best Park of 2010 by Association of Architects of Sweden. The aim of the project has been to create a certain place from which to enjoy the grandeur of the surrounding landscape. Sandgrund Park is a place from which to gaze at the river: enjoying the water through the variations of all four seasons.

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