Liljewall: Architecture for everyday life
By Malin Norman | Photos: Anders Bobert
An educational hub north of the Arctic Circle, an artistic outdoor gym, and a sports venue in a new urban development: these are just a few of Liljewall’s recent projects.
One of Liljewall’s most exciting designs, located in Gällivare, north of the Arctic Circle, is part of a unique metamorphosis, where two city centres will become one. Gällivare’s neighbouring town, Malmberget, must relocate due to mining and the increased risk of collapse. This is one of the world’s largest urban transformations and a massive investment.
Together with MAF Arkitektkontor, Liljewall has created Kunskapshuset (the House of Knowledge), an educational hub for an upper secondary school and adult education. Great emphasis has been put on creating a flexible and beautiful environment that can meet future demands for change and development. Inspired by the mine, Arctic nature and Sami artworks, the six-storey building combines wood, steel and concrete, to tell a story about its location and culture.
“Connecting Kunskapshuset to the local Sami culture has been an important aspect,” says Niclas Sundgren, CEO at Liljewall. Three Sami creators from different disciplines have joined forces for the art that is a key component of the characteristic red school: textile artist Britta Marakatt-Labba, glass artist Monica L Edmondson, and artist Anders Sunna. “The Sami culture is deeply integrated into the project and given a natural place in Gällivare,” Sundgren explains.
Outdoor gym and sports halls
It’s not the first time that Liljewall has worked with artists. The captivating project Tetraedern (The tetrahedron) is a new landmark created in collaboration with artist Gunilla Bandolin, combining aesthetics, exercise and the ability to experience the surrounding nature of lake Trummen in Växjö. The construction of impregnated wood invites passers-by to climb, jump and lift, or simply enjoy the view of the lake. “As in several of her earlier works, Gunilla Bandolin used geometric forms in an early stage,” says Niclas Sundgren. “This idea was further developed and shaped into a recognisable and functional piece of art, unique in its form.”
Another innovative commission is the sports venue in Mölnlycke Fabriker, which opened in the summer of 2021. The new activity and sports centre was built on behalf of Wallenstam, with parking for more than 500 cars and separate areas for gymnastics and trampolines. Both were developed in cooperation with the local athletics communities. The vision for the new district was to create a seamless weft of history, sports, health and entertainment, as well as housing and the Wallenstam arena.
Re-build and re-use
Sustainability is at the top of the agenda for Liljewall. “With the UN’s global sustainability goals as a framework, we push for a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable development,” says Niclas Sundgren. “Throughout the design process, we value resources, ecosystems and people’s wellbeing. We want to re-build instead of building from scratch, re-use materials and construct with wood where possible. Our ambition is to shape societies that develop for the better, with the goal that all our projects are climate neutral by 2030.”
One important aspect of how Liljewall works with urban planning and architecture is digital tools. “These days, software for early analysis and smart sketching is a natural part of the design process and complements pen and paper,” elaborates Sundgren. “Our toolbox ranges from physical models in wood and 3D-printed structures to smart digital BIM models. With parametric design, we iterate different ideas with a diverse set of parameters to generate hundreds of sketches to choose from. By bringing together architects and experienced BIM experts, programmers, visual designers and marketing competence, we are developing tomorrow’s architecture.”
Founded in 1980, Liljewall is a diverse company with many strengths and talents. Just over 250 co-workers in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö aim to make life smoother, more fun and beautiful for the great many. Web: www.liljewall.se Facebook: liljewallarkitekter Instagram: @liljewall_arkitekter
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