Local practice AndrénFogelström created the striking structures for Vårbergstoppen, a hill constructed in the 1960s that is now a public park
Words by Francesca Perry
Stockholm-based architecture practice AndrénFogelström has designed a series of sci-fi-like ‘playground spheres’ and brutalist concrete viewing platforms for Vårbergstoppen, a public park in the southern suburbs of Stockholm.
Vårbergstoppen started life as an artificial hill, created in the 1960s using earth displaced by the construction of new subway lines. City landscape architect at the time, Holger Blom, designed it with two artificial peaks surrounding a perfectly round 100m-diameter crater. The geometries of the landscape inspired the designs of AndrénFogelström’s new interactive elements, added to support Vårbergstoppen’s evolving role as a thriving public park.
Originally envisioned as ‘hides for bird watching’ – a popular activity in the park – AndrénFogelström’s concrete structures became a collection of viewing platforms catering to bird watchers as well as the general public. On the higher northern peak is a low shelter with a rounded bench, while on the lower southern peak is a viewing tower looking over the landscape; concealed in the slope is a hide from which to watch birds.
The shapes of the platforms are drawn from the perfect circle, sharing a language of geometric elements with the wider park. While the structures are made from poured-in-place concrete, details and railings are made from steel and benches are made of wood. There is a strong essence of brutalism present in the architecure; at first, it might seem as if these platforms were designed in the same decade as the park’s creation.
AndrénFogelström also created a series of playground spheres, which pop up across the landscape to support the park’s new playground. Visually recalling the designs of Buckminster Fuller, a large orange ball is propped up on the steep slope of the hill, rendered in honeycomb-like perforated metal that can be entered from an opening on one side.
Down in the playground sandbox, the practice has designed three smaller spaceship-like spheres, made from solid wood. One sphere has a slide, another one has a bench and small holes for peeking out. The inside of the spheres are painted orange, while the outside is treated with linseed oil to withstand the hardships of the Swedish winter.
AndrénFogelström’s viewing platforms were made in collaboration with Tyréns – the firm responsible for the overall landscape architecture of the park – and the play spheres were created in collaboration with Land Arkitektur, responsible for the overall landscape architecture of the playground.
Photography by Clément Morin
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