Thorbjörn Andersson with Sweco Architects: At one point in its length, the Klar River that runs through the city of Karlstad splits to form a 300-meter-long cape; from the air it appears as the pointed beak of a bird. The cape is a powerful landscape, a place of considerable drama, and the site of Sandgrund Park (Sandgrundsparken).
For many years before the park’s construction, the area had been fairly desolate, without a sense of destination. The river was an obvious feature to address in the design process, as well as the cape, whose pointed tip terminates in the water. Those same qualities are reinforced and amplified in the design of the park. A system of boardwalks along the river’s edge extends into the water, welcomes the sunset, and stresses its proximity to the water. The tip of the cape was given a more architectural profile, reshaped into a 40-meter-long viewing platform. The ground was modelled as an undulating terrain of five parallel ridges, the first measuring six meters in height, the remaining mounds given gradually lower profiles. Their elevated crests offer green viewpoints along the ridges; in contrast, the valleys between them provide containment. Every other valley harbours a distinct plant habitat, among them a beech forest, a magnolia grove, and a fern valley.
The aim of Sandgrund Park design has been to transform an anonymous sandbank into a place of significance, a place in which, and from which, to enjoy the grandeur of the surrounding river landscape. It is a place to gaze at the river and enjoy its flow and reflections through the variations of all four seasons.
Landscape architect: Thorbjörn Andersson @ Sweco Architects
Design team: Johan Krikström, Jimmy Norrman, Emma Norrman, Lisa Hellberg, Margareta Diedrichs, PeGe Hillinge, Lennart Knutsson (construction), Helena Björnberg (lighting)
Location: Karlstad, Sweden
Area: 40,000 square meters