Sjövik Square | Stockholm Sweden | Thorbjörn Andersson with Sweco Architects

Stockholm is a city on the water. The city´s setting is where two archipelagoes meet, Lake Malaren with its fresh water on one side and the Baltic Sea with its salt water on the other, interspersed by a mosaic of hilly, convex islands. This is the essential quality of the Swedish capital.


Sjövik square makes use of this quality. The square is situated right on the quay. It opens up towards the water and thus includes the larger landscape in its design. To underscore this basic idea, the square is laid out as a flat plane which has then been tilted 3 % towards the view. Two recreational lawns furnish the upper part, outlined with a broad granite edge for seating. The lawns are horizontal and rise gradually from the ground plane, clarifying the plaza slope. At their south end they are flush to the ground, permitting disability access.

Two 100 meter long wooden boardwalk promenades frame the plaza and direct the view.  They have a Y-shaped configuration, where the western leg steps down towards the water in series of sun terraces. The eastern leg is a pier which passes the quay edge by 40 meters, hovering over the water.

To balance the openness of the triangular square, an equally triangular grove of semi-transparent Gleditsia trees has been added at the western perimeter of the plaza. The grove transcends into a sunken garden, shadowed by cherry trees.

Included in the design is also a 35 meters wide water  feature, with a thin layer of water rushing over a shingled surface of Norwegian slate, as well as an environmental sculpture by artist Jan Svenungsson. To borrow a distant landscape with the help of a framed view is a classic technique that the Japanese masters would use in their garden design. Sometimes the strongest feature of a site actually lies outside its borders.

Sjövik Square | Stockholm Sweden | Thorbjörn Andersson with Sweco Architects
Client | City of Stockholm
Design company| Sweco Architects AB
Landscape architect | Thorbjörn Andersson
Design Team | Jimmy Norrman, PeGe Hillinge, Andreas Johansson, Emma Pettersson, Lin Wiklund.
Consultant | Dan Svensson, ELU (structures), Helena Björnberg, Ljusgestaltning (light), Örjan Ståhl, VIÖS (planting beds), Frank Lange, Semiramis (water feature), Sune Nykvist, Sweco (pump mechanics).
Artist | Jan Svenungsson
Area | 12 000 sqm
Time of completion 2010
Investment | 3,6 million euro

About Damian Holmes 3232 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at