Frostaliden, Skövde

At Frostaliden in the Swedish city of Skövde, a new neighbourhood is growing, where timber is the predominant material. This garden city will be one of the largest wood-clad boroughs in the country with 1.200 housing units for 4.000 residents.

Having wood as the centrepiece of the construction and design at Frostaliden was a decision made early on during our first discussions with the client and the architects. Nothing was to be made with gypsum cladding, polished or camouflaged — as it often is.

 

Instead these houses would proudly show what they are made of. Executed in wood that ages beautifully, the facades give a welcoming impression and a reason for pride for their residents.

Timber all the way when the garden town Frostaliden outside Skövde is emerging.

Client: Brunnen Bostad AB
Location: Frostaliden, Skövde, Sweden
Status: Completed 2018
Number of apartments: 52
Photo: Bert Leandersson

Timber housing

The eight story buildings in Skövde are entirely constructed of timber except for the bottom plate, the basement and its floor structure, as well as the stairway which are all made of concrete. Both floor and walls are made of wood with a technique called CLT (cross-laminated timber) where cross-glued discs make a massive timber building system and its frame.

 

The solid wood panel of spruce is used for walls, floors and ceilings. The panels are delivered in large sizes — up to 16 meters long. That means fewer panels, fewer joints, higher density and faster assembly. Since the panel is load-bearing, it allows for creative architectural solutions.

On the outside, the houses are dressed in cedar chips that are mounted with discs measuring approximately 30 x 50 centimetres, that overlap according to classical shingle technique. The effect is a beautiful patchwork with a vivid expression. Cedar is maintenance-free and has a long life cycle.

 

 

We have designed two buildings with a total of 52 housing units, mostly made of wood. In each unit, open floor plans with living room and kitchen seamlessly sharing a space foster the sense of togetherness at home.

 

The apartments have between two and four rooms and kitchen, from 61 to 104 square meters. Every unit has either a balcony or a patio. They are all corner apartments where the living room has natural light from two directions. All apartments have airy 2,5 meters in headroom. At the top of each building there are two exclusive suites with balconies and a large terrace situated west, offering a view over the tableland of Billingen. The houses are built with good standard with heated floors in every room. Bright oak floors and glazed wood walls give a natural appearance unmatchable by other materials. When walking into the apartment, we have the chance to appreciate the beautiful wood façade, the concrete stairwell and the bright living room and kitchen.

Sustainability and wellbeing are central

As cities grow all around the world, extra strain is put on our natural resources, which ups the priority of climate-neutral design and building. Increasing the use of wood as construction material is a way to help this urgent shift. Using timber in high-rise buildings is an important step towards denser, healthier and more sustainable cities.

 

There are many advantages of the type of industrial building that the city of Skövde has started. Timber is easy and quick to work with as there are no setting times, for instance. Glued laminated timber is strong and can carry heavy loads but is much lighter than concrete. It gives architects and builders more flexibility and ultimately, it leads to a good living environment with the right air humidity level and stable temperatures.

On the sustainability side, the case is compelling. Timber is renewable like no other load-bearing material and consumes less energy when being sourced and transported. It is also efficient for the energy performance of the building. Compared to many other materials, timber also captures carbon instead of increasing emissions.

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