From mental hospital to attractive urban environment

How do you preserve an old institutional environment while making it relevant to today's needs? In S:t Larsparken in Lund, FOJAB has helped property owner Hemsö to find development opportunities. This fall, the groundbreaking ceremony for a new sports hall will take place.

- 'There is a lot worth preserving in the park, but at the same time we want to develop it so that it doesn't feel like a museum,' explains architect Elise Lindahl. "We have worked a lot with the spaces between the buildings, so that we add qualities without encroaching on the unique environment in many ways.

- FOJAB has made a huge contribution to the vision and strategy work and given us a good foundation to stand on. The fact that we've been able to work long-term for ten years makes it all worthwhile," says Robert Cardell, project developer at Hemsö.

More life and movement

The mental hospital site was established in the 1870s and grew with new buildings almost every decade. Each one is a reflection of its time, but the design is bound together by the characteristic red brick. Since the hospital was closed down in connection with the psychiatric reform in the 1990s, the buildings have gradually been given new content. Today, many independent schools are housed here, from preschool to high school.

- In the strategy work, we identified what St. Lars is and should be, and what holes we need to fill. One such gap was the need for life and movement in the park even in the evening," says Robert Cardell.

This resulted in two detailed plans, which FOJAB assisted Hemsö with, that develop today's - and tomorrow's - businesses.

Housing and public activities

One detailed plan allows for approximately 8900 square meters of housing and approximately 2600 square meters of premises for business, offices and/or education. The site next to the river Höje has been something of a backwater, but the plan develops it into an attractive living and working environment in the heart of the park.

The second detailed plan includes a sports facility, Växthuset, which will begin construction this fall. It will be filled with schoolchildren during the day, but with its large gym and two padel courts, it will also be a draw for local residents in the evening.

The sports hall will serve as an entrance building to the park, lit up like a lantern. It will also be a pick-up and drop-off point for school children who are driven by car to and from the many schools in the area - a logistical challenge today. In terms of design, the building relates to its surroundings with its red brick, but has its own contemporary expression.

- It winks at the park's other buildings, but takes a step further," says Elise Lindahl.

The greenhouse sports facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2022/23.