Skywalk
Credit: Anders Berensson Architects

A new plan for central Stockholm uses a network of skywalks to stitch together more than 100 buildings and 5,800 apartments.

Anders Berensson Architects’ Klarastaden, or ‘clear city’, concept bundles together a series of towers topped by a blend of private and public green space.

Density – the highest in town – makes it possible to string skywalks like clothesline, connecting half of the roofs and zig-zagging the length of the site. Rooflines gallop to new heights and the mass of buildings gets gradually taller as one moves toward the central business district.

Skywalk-3
Credit: Anders Berensson Architects

‘The proposal is basically as high as you can build without shading the existing city – which would be both sad and politically impossible,’ says architect Anders Berensson.

Klarastaden is the architect’s response to the housing shortage in a city that’s swelling more rapidly than any other in Europe, according to the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. It is expected to expand to just over 1 million people by 2020 – an increase of 11 percent.

The plan echo Berensson’s earlier Stacked Stockholm, a concept that uses classical block typology as an erector set.

Its main difference, according to Berensson, is that it was commissioned by Sweden’s opposition Centre Party and has more site specificity – meant to loft over a rail yard that gobbles up a riverbank.

Skywalk-1
Credit: Anders Berensson Architects

‘By decking [over] the train tracks, Stockholm gets about 2000 metres of south facing shoreline,’ adds Berensson. ‘We also thought it reasonable to give a fair amount of the roofscape to the public.’

The plan may wither without support from the governing Social Democrat-Green coalition. ‘Stockholm is slow in making decisions even when there is political agreement.’

But Sweden is pledging the biggest investment in housing in 20 years.

‘This or something similar will get built here, but I don’t know when,’ says Berensson. ‘A major aspect to working with political proposals is to give alternatives to what’s being built today.’

Ian Spula is a freelance journalist covering architecture, design and property for Chicago Magazine, Dwell and The Spaces.

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