When Karlstad municipality would develop and make accessible one of the city’s best locations, Älvpromenaden, by the Klarälven river, parking lots and traffic areas became an atmospheric place by the water – with people and history in the centre. It’s a place where legs can dangle from one of the bridges.
In central Karlstad on the stretch between Stadshotellet and Sandgrundsparken, the long quays stretch the time and now. Over the years, the previously well-visited and lively marketplace had been transformed into an asphalt place full of cars and tourist buses. Now the area and the river promenade would regain their glory. Driving and parking areas would become square and pedestrian lanes in the form of a pedestrian area.
We wanted to create a place for people to stop and enjoy – from morning till dusk, regardless of means of transport—car, feet or bicycle. We wanted to create a peaceful place that would work for those who want to be alone and those who want to socialize.
The jetties encourage getting close to the water, but also just being. The pergolas give the feeling of security and the opportunity to socialize spontaneously. On the sitting islands, you can do as little as you want, behave as you wish. We put people back in focus on Museigatan and modernized the place’s history.
The former timber raft and marketplace with homogeneous ground material – from facade to quay – became the inspiration for the Älvpromenaden and laid the architectural foundation for the place.
A uniform and formal floor was developed as a base for all modes of transport: cyclists, pedestrians, cars. The same conditions apply to all means of transportation – maximum 5 kilometres per hour. The floor’s square logs became parts of the quay’s walkway, piers, pergolas and sitting islands. The logs, which symbolize the timber floatation, are seen almost “floating” on the shimmering stone pavement.
The choice of material fell on granite stones in different sizes and surface treatments to make the grounds sparkle with the river. We refurbished the sidewalk and recreated it with hardwood flooring to connect it to the old Karlstad. It links the city hotel and the romantic 1920s villas along the quay, but also forms a clear boundary between the villas and the square areas.
Such a historical project requires its care. An important starting point in the design of the Älvpromenaden was the biotope-protected pyramid orchards that were planted in the 1930s. The water pump in cast iron where you used to fetch your water was recreated in a modern design and became a playful element for children. The sculpture Sola in Karlstad got a new, more dignified placement.
We put people back in focus on Museigatan and modernized the place’s history. An exciting continuation follows because we have designed an extension for the ancient Karlstad Stadshotell, which is currently under construction. And the ambition here is the same as for the quays: to pay tribute to history but translate it into the present.
Landscape Architect: Tengbom
Location: Museigatan, Karlstad