Kv Tvärslån
Young people’s housing in Högdalen, a Stockholm suburb

The suburb of Högdalen is located in very beautiful natural surroundings, a little way south of Stockholm. 78 dwelling units for young people were added to the existing settlement at the New Year 2008. The centre of Högdalen retains the charm and atmosphere of a small town, with many small shops and a wide range of amenities, a natural meeting and trading point for people living round about.

Directly adjoining this centre, close to both underground station and bus terminal, flats for young people has been built in Tvärslån precinct, and within a short space of time the building has become a proud, new and modern landmark for both tenants and other neighbourhood residents.

The Högdalen neighbourhood, where the community centre was officially inaugurated way back in 1959, has for some time been a subject of studies under the aegis of the Stockholm Urban Planning Office/Land and Development Office, with a view to adding new housing blocks to the existing settlement where appropriate. This has been prompted by the housing shortage in the Swedish capital and the fact of Högdalen’s population having declined by about 50% in the past 20 years. Here, then, is a unique opportunity for harnessing the qualities and infrastructure of the neighbourhood, underpinning and renewing the array of services and attracting a new generation of residents. By underground, the centre of Stockholm is a mere 20 minutes away.

History and orientation of the site
Högdalen is a housing area planned and constructed in the 50s and 60s. The pre-existing settlement where the new building is located consist of four-storey lamellar blocks built of brick, enclosed courtyards and freestanding 12 or 13-storey tower blocks with rendered exteriors. The community centre is marked by a 15-storey slab block which, up till now, has been its natural landmark. In addition to shops, restaurants and other amenities, the centre includes swimming baths, a public library and a slalom skiing slope.

The Tvärslån precinct plot is bounded by Högdalen Centre to the north and a five-storey office block to the south. In the west it overlooks a local street, and to the east a busy road and the underground railway.

The building in Tvärslån precinct has quickly become a popular landmark in Högdalen and its environs, due very much to its coloured access balconies, which make a striking impression from behind its variously transparent and semi-transparent glazing. An expressive façade, composed and inspired by the pace of the underground railway traffic. A façade combining colourful exuberance with glass and relief-decorated slabs of fibre cement, a factor in the achievement of a cost-effective solution. The façade also interacts with the large urban space, with Högdalen, by shifting character according to the weather and the time of day. The impervious linite glass façade of the access balconies also provided soundproofing, as this façade overlooks the underground line.

The courtyard façade derives variety from the tenants’ imprints via the differing personalities of the balconies. Light, shade and reflections on the red-glazed balcony fronts set up a wealth of variation in the ostensibly austere façade. The neat little balconies overlook the communal building and garden in the courtyard, an oasis of patios and plantings which has become the tenants’ natural meeting point. Set against the placid, grey façade, the orange-coloured balconies provide an experience of lively contrast where the light from inside the flats is filtered through the fronts and the sky reflected on the surface.

Through its clear identity, this building signals the arrival of a new generation. A “youth think` has permeated the entire process, e.g. regarding smart solutions, detailing and inexpensive, resilient materials. Careful detailing in a style which is both rough and sophisticated. The aim was to build attractiveness to the target group into the flats themselves, their pricing and the design of the building.

The flats, most of them measuring 33 sq. m., can be partly designed by the tenants, e.g. through choice of flooring materials, wall colouring and tiling. Eventually the tenants will be able to demand new and improved services and amenities in Högdalen Centre, which in the long term will help to improve things for everyone living in the neighbourhood.

Parking and entrances
The site was partly brown-field, which provided an opportunity for creating 20 or so parking spaces, not too expensively, underneath the building. Vehicles access the building by entering the garage from Sjösavägen. Pedestrians enter from the opposite side.


18 photos

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings added a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • added a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com