A city within the city
Sammanfattning: Stockholm was formed on an archipelago where water separates the inner-city districts, which gives the city its distinctive character. As a reaction to the increasing population the city underwent a considerable expansion in the beginning of the last century. At first the city extended around the islands of the city centre, for it later to extend into suburbs reaching far away from the city centre. Today the city is once again increasing in population, but unlike before its borders cannot be expanded. We face the problem of densification, of filling in the gaps in-between sparsely spread out suburban communities. A commonly used strategy is to mimic the form of the inner city in new developments, regardless of their actual position in the city. These developments often lack the urban life that was planned for, the reason being that there is not enough people for a culture of conges-tion. There cannot be only one answer to how the city should approach the question of densification since the conditions vary depending on the site. At each site both nature and the juxtaposition of the urban and suburban condition has to be considered.Right before the functionalist breakthrough, the plan-ners and architects faced a similar problem. There was a need to densify the city along its periphery and to make use of vacant sites that had been too difficult to exploit. Loose groups of blocks were built on ridges or in former valleys. With their location, coordinated execution and distribution of streets, the groups of blocks became domestic enclaves, linked to the adjacent city in key situations. The large perimeter blocks framed nature, providing generous courtyards in interplay with the streetscape, thus mediating the urban and suburban condition. When the inner city continued to expand, these enclaves became interwoven with the urban fabric, becoming cities within the city.Today former harbors, and industrial areas often make place for larger residential developments. One such site is Lövholmen, which is situated on the immediate limit of the inner city. Here, any architectural intervention would have to deal with the dialectics of urban and sub-urban, architecture and nature. The project aims to syn-thesise these factors, learning from the references and revisiting their urban strategies whilst making the build-ings suitable for the conditions of contemporary living. The project aims not only to bridge the gap between architecture and urbanism but to make a proposal of how the city can grow in continuity with its history.
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