In Nacka, just outside of Stockholm’s city centre, the new neighbourhood of Tollare is emerging. On the steep cliff down to the water, between residential buildings that have yet to be built, we designed Trapparken, the Stair park. This is something unique, a park, a staircase and a destination with a fantastic view all rolled into one.
In 2014, we were given the task by Bonava to develop a long and narrow strip of land in Tollare, which runs from Tollare square on top of the hill down to Hamntorget, Harbour square down by the water. The area is very unusual and there are many complicated factors to keep in mind. How do you design a park which a height difference of 35 meters including a series of flight of stairs between houses that do not yet exist so that it becomes space appreciated by the residents and an exciting destination for excursions? This was important questions for the members of this project group. We wanted to turn this challenge into something very special. A real experience for visitors.
“Where would people want to sit and eat ice-cream?”
To turn the Trappark into something other than simply a way from A to B, we needed to make use of both the unique qualities of the area but also add some new. We needed to try to imagine what it would feel like to move about here. How many steps are people willing to ascend? Where should the resting places be? What could we expect in the way of surprises?
We studied many stairs in Stockholm. We tried to find out how it feels to walk in two’s or what happens when you meet somebody on stairs with different widths. We knew that the flight of stairs in Tollare needed to reach considerable heights quickly and that the stairs, therefore, would create high walls in stages. What would it feel like to walk alongside those? How could we shape them so that the environment would still feel light, green and open?
“To make people want to walk up and down the stairs, they had to offer something – unexpected experiences and exciting interruptions. We have spent a lot of energy on creating areas to hang out along the way, where you can sit down, enjoy the view and maybe eat an ice-cream in the sun,” says Åsa Myhr, landscape architect in charge.
The light was an important aspect. We studied the movement of the sun across the park in a new and unusual way. Instead of just making a general survey of the hours of the day, we based our design on how the light spreads when it is time to go to work, when you would want to have a picnic lunch, an afternoon ice cream or go for an evening walk. We chose leaning brick walls and light materials to take advantage of the daylight as much as possible
The joy of discovery became a key word for the project. When you move through the park, there are interesting details to look at. The concept for the stairs takes you on a journey from the water to the forest or the other way around. The vegetation climbs up the angled walls from raised beds.
“Just when you thought that you knew the place, you discover something new. Maybe a picture in perforated steel plate on the side of a bench or a motivating message along your jogging round by the side of the stairs.”
– Nejra Lagumdzija, landscape architect
A great challenge was to find the balance between details and the whole and between function and aesthetics. There is a lot going on in the narrow space and a lot of stuff that needs to be there. At the same time, it was important that Trapparken felt harmonious and beautiful. Multi-functional design was a large part of trying to find the solution, to find elements that could fulfil many requirements and that did not disturb either the overall impression or the views. The expanded metal that covers the walls continues and becomes a fall protection railing, with recessed lighting in the handrails. Seats are integrated in the walls or become an extension of the raised beds. This is compact living – the park version.
“We have worked hard at trying to anchor the park in the character of the place. We have been inspired by both colours and materials from the surrounding environments that we have developed further – we really have thought of everything so that the person that moves around here shall experience something really special,” says Jenny Andersson, landscape architect.
A long-term perspective and simple management have been core considerations for the project. We have selected robust materials, artificial irrigation, and plants that add dynamics year round and that become more beautiful with time.
Trapparken is developed and planned in Revit. This means that we can maintain a dialogue with both Bonava and the house architect for the surrounding residential buildings directly through 3D models, providing an amazingly precise overview. We can clearly visualise both concepts and ongoing changes for all involved. The tool helps us to create a priceless clarity in the project both for ourselves as for clients and other participants in the project.