Wood making inroads in the city - Onesix

ARTICLE Our cities are seeing an increasing number of smart construction projects in wood – unique, stand-out projects of various types that embrace their urban setting without being too forward. As cities grow and change, wood is set to become part of their new identity.

In the northeast area of Lund, around the two research facilities MAX IV and ESS, the new district of Brunnshög is emerging. Eventually, upwards of 40,000 people will live and work in what will be a mixed-use urban environment focused on sustainability and quality of life. The district is being expanded over a long period, with multiple sub-developments linked together by their shared spatial goals.

To develop Brunnshög into an exciting district of mixed premises, Lund Municipality sought out new approaches and players in its work on land allocations. One way to encourage this was to have architects, rather than traditional developers, compete for the building permits. This has resulted in four rows of terraced housing where the architects are also the clients and property developers.

The homes have been developed to create a residential feel and a sense of variation, something that is particularly important in a place that is otherwise a centre for new buildings, research and large companies. The inspiration for placing terraced houses in an urban environment comes in part from Dutch and Danish terraces and the streets of houses in central Lund.

The first of Brunnshög’s four architect-designed terraces was Onesix by Okidoki Arkitekter, which welcomed residents in the summer of 2022. The row of housing has a timber frame and offers 12 homes, split into six individual townhouses topped by six penthouse apartments, with each house and apartment in turn designed by a separate architect.

»We developed a concept where we used the third storey for small apartments so that we could organise the whole project as a tenant-owners’ association with 12 members. Combining houses and apartments improves the social mix and means that more people can live within the same sustainable building envelope,« says Rickard Stark, architect and creative director at Okidoki.

The proposal actually went against the current detailed development plan, which only permits terraced houses. However, the municipality accepted Okidoki’s interpretation of the plan, allowing the small apartments to be included on floor three.

Okidoki describes the Onesix concept as realising the dream of architect-designed urban living. In addition to Okidoki’s offices in Stockholm and Gothenburg, Högberg & Gillner Arkitektur, Rundlöf & Björling Arkitektur, YAAM Art & Architecture and New Order Arkitektur were all invited to put their stamp on a house each, with a focus on a unique façade concept. This result is controlled, creative chaos, with the common denominators being the use of wood and the different shades of green that the façades have been painted in. In their role as lead architects, Okidoki were responsible for curating the whole project and balancing the colour palette, details and materiality in order to achieve a good overall feel. They also designed the interior, where the individually created kitchen cabinetry with its graphic routed patterns has a strong connection to each façade concept.

»One condition was that the architects we worked with should also design the windows, patio doors and entrance doors for production in traditional joinery. Entrance doors, for example, are never commissioned as unique products from a joinery in new build projects, and real wooden glazing bars with putty exist only in renovation projects, these days. This allowed for a freer design approach, and the result is definitely more fun and more appealing.«

Rickard Stark steers well clear of hyperbole when he talks about the initial appearance of the site where the terraced housing now stands and where the district of Brunnshög will become established. In his view, the importance of getting to know a place is overrated, particularly when there is nothing to relate to.

Architect Rickard Stark

»It was actually my intention not to visit Brunnshög until our row of houses was finished, and in a way it’s lucky that I never went there. If we’d seen how depressing this gravel pit was, we might not have wanted to get involved. As the district now begins to take shape, we’re in no doubt that it’s going to be great. It’s wonderful to see new methods being tested and showcased in Brunnshög, which is going to be a place of sustainability, innovation and quality.

The project was launched in November 2020, and all the houses and apartments were sold less than two months later.

»With Onesix, we wanted to produce a superb wood building project that would provide the buyers with architect-designed homes. We know that the buyers are fully on board with the design. They like the fact that each unit feels unique and personal, with its own special look,« says Rickard.

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