Folkhem’s lakeside development on the shore of the Bällstaviken inlet in Sundbyberg near Stockholm is unique. Not only are the buildings made entirely of wood, they also feature sustainable, classic materials and shapes throughout, from façade cladding to kitchen worktops. Welcome inside!
Strandparken was designed by Wingårdh architects. It is clear, even from a distance, that these houses are something out of the ordinary. The façades are covered in cedar shingles that with time turn a lovely, sombre grey. Everything is made of wood, all the way through to the interior walls, which are covered in thin gypsum board in order to comply with modern fire regulations.
Wood dominates everywhere. You notice it as soon as you enter the stairwell. Floors and steps have a real feel that no concrete surface can imitate. Even the acoustics are different – a softer, solid, muted effect that only wood with innumerable, tightly packed annual rings can produce. Inside each flat, every detail is carefully planned.
The architects have chosen materials that age well and can withstand regular maintenance. There are many signs of the close co-operation between the architects and the carpenters – the choice of materials and every feature is carefully planned down to the smallest detail. Everything from floors to worktops can be sanded down and treated over and over again – the surfaces just get more attractive with age. Wood continues to live long after the tree has been felled, and you will notice that there are not just one, but many different types of wood here as the architects subscribe to the idea that “all woods go together “. The end result is varied and vibrant. Because of this freedom, it has been possible to let purpose govern the choice of wood.
Now step out on to the balcony where you can almost feel the spring in the wooden floor. It adds to the comfort, rather like a jetty warmed by the sun or the porch of an old wooden house. Solid steel supports strengthen the construction without making it too rigid or ruining the general effect. While solid wood is not the only material used at Strandparken, the overall idea is never abandoned. The classic bathroom tiles are attractively laid in a “brick wall pattern” to an unusually striking effect – not unlike the inside of a French bistro. The white, smooth surface may seem a little too modest, but there is a reason behind everything: because of the sustainable, classic design, no bathroom will need to be refurbished with every changing trend.
Nothing goes out of fashion as quickly as “modern” design. The architects have instead made sure that each personal touch is in the form of furniture, textiles, art and lighting; things that are easily altered for a sustainable way of life.