by Jincy IypeJan 19, 2023
In the heart of Stockholm, an innovative construction project is taking shape—The Wood City. This ambitious endeavour by Danish studio Henning Larsen and Swedish firm White Arkitekter, elucidates Swedish sustainable innovation, combining architectural abilities, environmental consciousness and a deep-rooted commitment to preserving the planet for the future.
The project extends over 250,000 square meters and thus qualifies as the world's largest known construction project in wood. The first sod is planned to be turned in 2025 and the first buildings are expected to be completed in 2027. The real estate industry is absolutely crucial in the green transition, as buildings account for as much as 40 per cent of the world's CO2 emissions. Stockholm Wood City marks a new era for sustainable architecture and urban development. The new area houses more than 7,000 office spaces and 2,000 homes in Sickla, in the southern parts of Stockholm. The project is set to offer a vibrant, urban environment with a mix of workplaces, housing, restaurants, and shops.
A forest within the city, the Wood City project bears proof to Sweden’s reverence for nature. With its unique design, the project seamlessly integrates green spaces, ensuring a harmonious co-existence between urban development and the surrounding environment. At the core of the project’s sustainable ethos lies the strategic use of timber, a renewable and environment-friendly resource. Wood offers several ecological advantages over traditional building materials like concrete and steel. By utilising timber, the project reduces its carbon footprint, promotes responsible forest management, and contributes to mitigating climate change.
“We are proud to introduce Stockholm Wood City. This is not only an important step for us as a company, but a historic milestone for Swedish innovation capability," mentions Annica Ånäs, CEO of Atrium Ljungberg in an official statement. "Stockholm Wood City manifests our future. From tenants, there is a strong demand for innovative, sustainable solutions—a demand that we meet with this initiative,” she adds. Modern wooden construction is a hot topic of discussion globally, but the completed projects so far are often individual buildings or blocks. Among others, The New European Bauhaus has, in recent years, pushed for increased wooden construction, but old conventions and beliefs have slowed down development.
The advantages of wooden buildings are many, both for the environment and for people's health and well-being. As shown by various research studies, wooden buildings provide better air quality, reduce stress, increase productivity, and store carbon dioxide throughout the time they are in use. “Our industry leaves a big mark, and it is important for us to make a positive difference in both the shorter and longer term. We want to create an environment where our customers, those who will live and work here, can participate in the development and design of the city district of the future,” Ånäs mentions further in the press release. In addition to the advantages of wood, the project entails several other environmental benefits.
Wood City pioneers cutting-edge technologies to maximise energy efficiency. The use of wood as an insulating material helps regulate temperature, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling. Moreover, the project also incorporates innovative energy systems such as solar panels and geothermal heating to lower the overall energy consumption. Envisioned as a hub for sustainable innovation beyond its physical construction, Stockholm Wood City fosters a collaborative ecosystem with a focus on enhancing the quality of life for residents. The emphasis on office spaces is a way to meet the deficit in workplaces in the south of Stockholm's inner city, to shorten commuting times for more people.
In a country where energy supply and efficiency are high up on the national agenda, the project will focus on self-produced, stored and shared energy. By investing in resource-efficient construction methods and circular material flows, Atrium Ljungberg wants to change the role of the urban developer. Their ambition is to be a catalyst for innovation just as much as its Swedish peers in industries such as technology, manufacturing, and retail.
This project epitomises the best of Swedish sustainable innovation showcasing the country’s commitment to responsible urban development. Its integration of nature, emphasis on timber, preservation of cultural heritage, energy efficiency, and collaborative ecosystem exemplify a holistic approach towards sustainability.
As Stockholm Wood City sets a noteworthy precedent, the question arises: Can this construction approach be replicated in other cities and regions? Exploring the scalability of wooden construction projects worldwide opens up possibilities for innovative solutions to housing shortages, urban densification and sustainable urban growth.