UNStudio has been selected to build a cable car system for the swedish city of gothenburg. the design was chosen ahead of rival proposals from BIG, WilkinsonEyre, and white arkitekter with diller, scofidio + renfro.
 the system will comprise one cable car line with four stations and six towers, and is one of a number of projects undertaken by the city to mark its 400th anniversary in 2021. the cable car system, which will provide fast and efficient aerial transport across the city, will be the first new mode of public transportation in sweden since the subway was introduced in the 1930s.

unstudio gothenburg cable car
the new cable car system will comprise one line with six towers
image © plompmozes (also main image)



‘a cable car system can not only provide much needed sustainable transport between otherwise disconnected parts of our growing cities, but by traveling ‘as the crow flies’ and bypassing traffic congestion on the ground, it can ensure extremely fast, reliable and efficient travel for both residents and visitors alike,’ explains ben van berkel, founder and principal architect of UNStudio. ‘although primarily a pragmatic solution, cable cars are also a very congenial way to travel as they enable us to see and experience our cities in a whole new way.’

unstudio gothenburg cable car
four stations are included as part of the plans
image © plompmozes



the 3km-long (1.9 miles) cable car line starts at järntorget in the historic city on the south bank of the river, where it links to a bus and tram transfer node. it then crosses the river and continues to three further stations in the north of the city. six towers that reference gothenburg’s shipyard cranes continue across the landscape. ‘the aim of the design is to reflect the robustness of this industrialized city’s past, whilst alluding to its expansive future,’ continues van berkel. ‘although the towers are pieces of high engineering, they are also very sculptural, slender and transparent within the urban landscape.’

unstudio gothenburg cable car
the towers reference gothenburg’s shipyard cranes
image © plompmozes



at night the illumination of the towers is achieved by spotlights that line the inside of the tower beam surface. light cutting through a gap between structural components creates a thin, sharp line which subtly emphasizes the silhouette at night. meanwhile, the stations are not only designed around principles of natural wayfinding and social safety, but also with a strong identity in mind that will make them clearly recognizable as destination points within the city. energy is generated by the stations themselves by way of PVT panels (photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collectors) which are integrated within the roof structures to provide both electrical energy for lighting and thermal energy to heat floors and stairs.

unstudio gothenburg cable car
65 meter tower elevation

unstudio gothenburg cable car
100 meter tower elevation



project info:


name: gothenburg cable car

client: the city of gothenburg – traffic and public transport authority (trafikkontoret)
in collaboration with: the city planning authority (stadsbyggnadskontoret), västtrafik AB, the architects sweden
location: gothenburg, sweden: terminal station and tower at järntorget, towers and intermediate station in the area of lindholmen, towers and intermediate station in the area of västra ramberget, tower and terminal station in the area of wieselgrensplatsen
program: cable car facilities, integrated into public transport system consisting of 4 stations (2 terminal, 2 intermediate) and 6 towers (height varying)
length: cable car line ~3km in length
status: winning competition entry


UNStudio: ben van berkel with arjan dingsté and juergen heinzel, ayax abreu garcia, xinyu wang

local architect: kjellgren kaminsky architecture AB


structure & engineering: knippers helbig
lighting design: licht&soehne

visualizations (CGI): plompmozes