looking at the increasing demand for green public spaces, stockholm-based utopia architects AB envisions st. erik’s indoor park as a non-commercial environment for play, socializing and enriching cultural experiences. the project is the first in a series of proposals for stockholm’s development, which the team calls ‘utopia ideas’. increasing the number of non-profit spaces is an ambition clearly expressed in promenastaden (walkable city), the current structure plan of sweden’s capital. yet, very little action is being taken and people are still facing limited options for socializing outside their homes: with malls, cafés, restaurants, museums and libraries as the only solution for shared social spaces, it is time to de-commercialize the indoor public realm. hence, the park should be viewed more like a start for wider discussions on how existing or future common places can be managed. 

utopia architects st erik's indoor park stockholm designboom
st. erik’s indoor park is a non-commercial public space in the heart of the city



utopia has taken on this project, co-financed by the swedish federation of glazing contractors and the swedish wood building council, with a deep focus on democratic use. open for a large part of the day and all year round, the team suggests a completely ordinary park under a roof and where all can have access on equal terms. it would offer a fully vegetated space that invites warmth and a wide range of activities that are possible during cold seasons or even at nighttime. the building will have facilities for stage performances and education, offering many of the city’s institutions a premise at limited cost. 


‘we envisage meetings of authors with readings, preschool visits with flower planting, theatrical performances, consultation meetings for urban development issues, school concerts, meetings of associations, art exhibitions, children’s theatre, guest performances from other arts centres, civic dialogue, debates, urban cultivation courses, ‘outdoor cinema’… the park will […] be a valuable asset for educational work with the focus on ecology and understanding our environment and the surrounding world. […] st. erik’s indoor park will be an arena for all ages and interests’. 

utopia architects st. erik's indoor park stockholm designboom
the building is completely vegetated, climate controlled and drenched in natural light



from the very beginning, the project also aims to create a fundamentally sustainable building with materials that are climate smart, resistant and recyclable. solutions for heating, cooling and lighting are selected for the highest available standard when it comes to energy efficiency. the dome can produce its own heating for a large proportion of the year. during colder seasons, the park should be able to reuse heat from exhaust air found at the adjacent underground and the garage right underneath.


the design is proposed as six linked ellipsoidal volumes of different sizes and forms, made of load-bearing timber with vaulted glass. the choice of material creates a refined building that would stands out as a landmark in the city with its verdant interior and abundant lighting. the park is strongly integrated in its surroundings and easily accessible for the general public in purely physical terms. entrances and passages are generous, welcoming and clearly linked to surrounding pedestrian routes. the building will be some 23 metres tall, at level with the eaves of adjacent buildings, and will have an area of about 1,500 square metres.

utopia architects st. erik's indoor park stockholm designboom
site plan, located in a strategic and dense city hub



the idea is to locate the park in a site currently covered by a raised grass area, enclosed by a high curb. the conditions are inhospitable and unfavorable for lawn growth yet, the plot is strategically located thanks to its densely populated neighborhood and proximity to underground stations and bus stops. furthermore, adjoining the site is the vasaparken — an already natural attraction in stockholm which houses a rich variety of cultural activities initiated by local residents of different generations. hence, this would benefit the park as an additional premise. in the end, the project would bring to light a dynamic green environment that would not be typically visible or accessible in the urbanscape. 



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