3000 sqm of untouched mountain nature in central Stockholm - where is it possible?

On Sveavägen 44 - as central as it gets. Behind the answer is a unique project. Landscape architect Johan Paju of FOJAB Stockholm is responsible for both the project and the explanation.

On Sveavägen 44 is an entire block that was originally Skandia's old headquarters, built in the early 1940s. The facade is protected and looks the same now as it did then. The interior of the block, which used to be a collection of many different buildings, has now been rebuilt except for two small atrium courtyards. In total, 65,000 square meters of offices, shops, hotels and housing have been rebuilt. The roof has basically become one large, continuous, flat surface with small holes.

Windy and exposed
The entire neighborhood will be Breeam certified and the project budget was based on a sedum roof solution. When Johan Paju got the assignment, the idea was to match the budget set, but still create added value.

- Sedum is quite boring, and it is not walkable. I thought: We do the opposite - we seed in a substrate, a shallow soil, and make a real landscape that is not a finished product. Up on a roof, it looks like a mountain, basically. It's windy and exposed, and almost no plants survive. So we chose plants and plant types from just such situations - mountain vegetation and outer archipelago vegetation. This will be the first wild park in Stockholm. And it will be completely untouched. We will only mow it once a year.

Like a big archipelago bridge
Three undisturbed habitat types are created: flourishing dry meadow, scrub forest - which is a marshy scrub forest common in the outer archipelago - and shingle fields with almost only stones and mosses. This is the foundation. Floating above this, a wooden deck will be built as a promenade with seating, about 500 square meters in size. It will be raised from the ground about 35 cm, so that you can sit comfortably on the edge.

- "It will be like a large archipelago bridge that you walk on, with a balustrade that reduces the wind speed and creates views," says Johan. The balustrade is shaped according to the roof landscape. You walk on the deck and only in certain places can you get out into nature. There is no effect lighting at all, only spill light from the surrounding city. You can stand there, above the city's rooftops in 3000 square meters of real nature. In the center of Stockholm.

Nature in Manhattan
Johan explains that there are some projects in New York City that are somewhat similar. One of them, Time Landscape by Alan Sonfist, is a piece of land in Manhattan that has been planted with native plant material. Because the conditions are the same, a forest is slowly emerging that tells the story of what nature was like in Manhattan in the 17th century.

The roof garden will be completed in spring 2014 and will initially be available to office tenants during the day. It is hoped to eventually open to the public at certain times.