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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Shifting Fields in Nynäshamn, Sweden by Active City Transformation

February 10th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Active City Transformation

Introduction and Problem Statement

With its unique location between Sweden’s hilly countryside and coastal waters, proximity to the new train station and active population base, Nynäshamn possesses everything it needs in order to transform Estö IP into a vibrant and exciting space for its citizens, while at the same time reconnecting the surrounding areas of the town.

Top view

  • Architects: Active City Transformation
  • Project: Shifting Fields
  • Location: Nynäshamn, Sweden
  • Program: Public Space
  • Area: 60000m2
  • Year: 2011
  • Client: Nynäshamn Municipality

Reservior View

The intent of Shifting Fields is to create a more experience-rich site, which underlines the relationships to the adjacent functions and characteristics. However, before we could begin to solve the main project task, we needed to consider the following…

…with respect to the water management needs of the site, we asked…
Can flooding and continually rising sea levels become a productive – rather than destructive – phenomenon? Can they help to transform and strengthen a town’s identity?

…and with respect to the development of a new public space, we thought…
How can recent tendencies in public space usage, specifically new kinds of activities and sports help to reunite a town, whose interest in sports indirectly contributed to the immediate problem?


Park View

Planning Strategy

We see the site as existing in tension between town and country, coast and hillside, park and wilderness. It lacks proper elements of nature, landscape, urban life and activity. Therefore, the overall strategy is one in which we interweave these elements into a single unified structure in order to create a significant new place; a heterogeneous landscape, rich with diverse programmatic combination’s, flexible surfaces and natural environments.


Canal View

Rather than a final or definitive master plan, we suggest a flexible framework. Such a framework has the advantage of growing and evolving to meet the specific needs of the town. The site matrix is therefore subdivided into a series of layers, composed of larger and smaller fields. This is meant to mirror the gradual geological development of the site.


Site plan

As a general starting point, we have defined key points, such as the northern portion of the site and the water collection system, in order to immediately deal with the site’s flooding issues. Next, larger fields can be defined in relation to the desired connections across the site. Later, as the site evolves, these larger fields can be subdivided into smaller fields, adapting to specific programs.


Vegetation Activity Matrix

Water / Climate

With Nynäshamn’s role as a coastal center, the integration of various water elements throughout the park is an obvious choice. In addition, the need to control the occasional on site flooding from the Gröndalsviken Bay and Baltic Sea provides a unique design opportunity. ACT propose the construction of a water canal that winds through the site to contain this flood water, while better integrating it into the landscape. We also propose the construction of a number of water retention basins, which during periods of intense flooding will merge with the water canal forming a new water landscape.

Essentially, the on-site management of water is divided into three steps or allowances: areas intended for bulk water retention, areas intended to be temporarily flooded and areas which will almost never be flooded. The topography of the fields is organized in various levels in relation to the canal to control the fluctuating water level. Each field can be thought of as a small pocket that can gradually be filled with water. Thus the landscape transitions into a water playground with swimming pools, reflecting pools, etc.


Vegetation Matrix

The advantage of the canal as a method of water retention is that it can be designed to be an attractive activity element with and without water. When filled with water, it becomes a place for activities such as swimming, kayaking and water polo. After the water recedes, the canal can be used for various urban activities, such as skate boarding, rollerblading, urban BMX and urban scooters. And during the winter months it can support snowboarding and sledding activities. Hence the problem of water flooding the site serves as a design element, helping to influence the character of the natural landscape and provide the towns citizens with numerous activities.


Activity Matrix

Site Program

In considering these recent tendencies in public space usage and Nynäshamn’s historically active population base, ACT propose to reclaim the site’s role as a busy and popular place for recreational activities and sports, but at this more intimate and informal level. The intention is to create a park that contains a wide variety of programs and activities for all ages and user groups. By establishing a broad range of surfaces, in different sizes, materials and expressions, the park can act as both a proving ground for these new forms of activities and sports. At the same time it can provide a space which is part of the neighborhood’s everyday landscape, and therefore a space that is comfortable.


Season Diagram

Nynäshamn’s New City Park

Nynäshamn’s new city park will be a place where people can meet with friends and be surprised by vibrant natural landscape; a place where a multitude of experiences can take place side by side.

In order to achieve this experience, we suggest that all the park’s programs be organized into an overall landscaping structure, in which new meanings and contexts can arise through their juxtaposition. New spatial variations, typologies and experiences will be created, such as an educational vegetable garden or skateboard water management park. Through the intersection of these programs and activities, new interactions will occur, creating more life, security, health and well-being.


Maintainance Diagram

Program Matrix

The programmatic matrix for the park is a combination of activities and landscapes. Activities are further subdivided into active activities, such as play, traditional sports, picnics, etc., and passive activities, such as nature trails, leisure activities and exploration. Landscapes are subdivided into surfaces, such as sport, soft, hybrid, etc. and vegetation, such as meadows, orchards, agricultural fields, vegetable gardens, pastures, fresh water habitats, reservoirs, and water filtration swales.

ACT have proposed an even balance of activities versus landscapes as a general starting point, but this balance should be seen as flexible in accordance with the evolving needs of the town. These interchangeable elements are combined in both ideal and sometimes experimental ways to create greater spatial and programmatic variety in the landscape.


Phasing Diagram

Flooding Diagram

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Category: Port's public spaces

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