Brutalist car park becomes a wooden skyscraper

Well it's one way to turn a much loved but outdated 20th century relic into a 21st century apartment complex. . .
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Trätoppen by Anders Berensson Architects
Trätoppen by Anders Berensson Architects

Multi-storey car parks send out all the wrong messages in progressive metropolises. If city leaders are trying to discourage vehicle use among a booming population, then devoting precious land to the housing of cars is wrong.

The Stockholm Centre Party in Sweden has taken this to its logical conclusion, commissioning local firm Anders Berensson Architects to transform such a space into a residential building. Parkaden is a centrally located, seven-storey car park on Regeringsgatan 47, by the renowned Brutalist architect Hans Asplund.

 

Trätoppen by Anders Berensson Architects
Trätoppen by Anders Berensson Architects

Rather than start from scratch, Anders Berensson’s ten year-old firm is proposing a skyscraper standing in Asplund’s structure, leaving its façade in tact. At 40 storeys, it would be the capital’s tallest building, extending 31 storeys above the original building. After flattening the car park’s sloping floors, the first seven stories would be made available for shops and restaurants.

The 133m-tall tower would be well within its footprint, allowing for a 6m-wide public terrace on the car park’s top floor. And the tower’s name Trätoppen, or Tree Top, hints at the building’s main material: wood. In Berensson’s plans the number of each storey is carved into the cross-laminated timber façade, a reference, the architect explains, to a carpark’s prominent numerals.

 

Trätoppen by Anders Berensson Architects
Trätoppen by Anders Berensson Architects

“From the outside, one can count the floors by reading the facade and from the inside you will be reminded what floor you are on just like in the parking garage,” says Berensson.

This numeric lattice would also act as a sunscreen for the 250 apartments housed inside the building.

Berensson’s design is a smart answer to the thorny question of what to do with an iconic but potentially outdated structure. Could a similar solution have saved Owen Luder’s Trinity Square car park in Gateshead – immortalized in the 1960s film Get Carter – from the wrecking ball? Perhaps.

 

Trätoppen by Anders Berensson Architects
Trätoppen by Anders Berensson Architects

For more great Brutal architecture, order a copy of This Brutal World. And for more on ways to adapt and update our urban environment, get Living in the Endless City.


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