tengbom presents ‘bergs locks visitor center’ proposal


Göta canal, one of Sweden’s most popular tourist attractions, is a 200-year-old waterway still described today as an engineering masterpiece. It spans from west to east in the country’s southern region, a 190 km long connection between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea through lakes, rivers, artificial canals, and locks. In 2022, an international architecture competition was held to envision a new visitor center beside the Bergs locks, a hotspot of the waterway, where seven connected locks raise and lower some of the thousands of boats that cross the canal yearly. Tengbom architects won the competition with its ‘Belvedere’ proposal, a carefully placed visitors center that creates a dialogue between landscape, heritage, and contemporary architecture.

bergs locks new visitor centre a dialogue between landscape and vernacular architecture 1
main view westwards: the volumes follow the existing height curves and open to the surrounding landscape
all renderings © Metro Cúbico Digital 



blending heritage with new architectonic features


The design takes inspiration from the site’s natural landscape and vernacular architecture. Specifically, it blends the smooth topography with the traditional gable roofs found in its rural context. Tengbom (see more here) envisioned the Bergs locks visitor center on top of a hill, nested against an existing farmhouse and extending to the south, east, and west, overlooking the scenery around. From this spot, users can enjoy sweeping views of Lake Roxen, the seven locks, the marina, and the historical landscape with remains dating back to the Iron Age. The proposed architecture frames all these views from the inside and acts as a new landmark from the outside.


Tengbom’s plan starts with the extension and transformation of an old barn by adding two new volumes, interconnecting all three. The new ensemble introduces an evolution of the barn’s archetypical form, changing from a traditional gable roof facing east to a more dynamic form that blends with the topography as it faces west. ‘The transition from tradition to contemporaneity overlaps with the transition between the building and the landscape. The resulting proposal is a blend of heritage with new architectonic features that create a unique experience on-site,’ shares the practice

bergs locks new visitor centre a dialogue between landscape and vernacular architecture 2
aerial view from the locks showing the existing vernacular architecture and newly-added volumes



eco-conscious design from start to finish 


Because the competition brief placed high demands on the new building, Tengbom pushed to deliver new forms and shapes, creating a landmark with a humble attitude towards the landscape, allowing the existing local qualities to flourish. This is achieved through sensitive scaling, minimal footprint, sustainable materials, and non-invasive constructive techniques.


‘Locally sourced timber will be used extensively, allowing us not only to reduce carbon emissions but also to continue the long tradition of timber construction in the region. A new pathway is proposed to the site, allowing visitors to access new areas of the landscape: nature, new and existing buildings, sightseeing spots, and historical remains are all interconnected enhancing the full ‘Belvedere’ experience not as a single location on the top of the hill, but as a collection of experiences in the landscape,’ concludes the team. 

bergs locks new visitor centre a dialogue between landscape and vernacular architecture 3
interior view of the main exhibition room with wood cladding inside + outside






conceptual diagrams
conceptual diagrams
ground floor plan
ground floor plan
section and west facade
section and west facade
situation plan
situation plan

project info:


name: Belvedere – Bergs locks visitor center

location: Berg, Linköping, Sweden 

project year: 2022 
architecture: Tengbom

renderings: Metro Cúbico Digital 

team: Antonio Minto, João Gaspar, Helena Hasselberg, Soheil Shahnazari, JP Pereira



designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom