Uppsala Entré

By Catherine Langer

Uppsala Entré, Svendborg Architects
 

Seven individual building blocks of apartments are perched on an elongated, lower building of shops in the centre of Uppsala.

The residential housing project of Uppsala Entré, designed by Danish architecture firm Svendborg Architects, is close to a future infrastructural hot spot of the Swedish city of Uppsala, with a train station, mixed shopping opportunities, and housing areas.

The site is a complex meeting point of the modern and the historical city, and where the dynamic city life meets a calm, recreational park. Instead of separating the contrast, Uppsala Entré instead connects the different areas of its surroundings in creative ways across its narrow site. This is done by placing the apartments in seven different building units across the site instead of along it, making it possible to create passages between the buildings blocks from the street to the green area behind. The permeable design of the Uppsala Entré thus functions less like a wall and more as an inviting connection.

The passages are cut into an elongated building of stores that follows the shopping street at the ground level. Carried by colorful columns, the passages puncture the shopping street with occasional views towards the green spaces and lead people from the busy, public sphere into the calm, quiet park.

Furthermore, the park is extended all the way onto the pitched roof of the shop building and weaves itself in between the residential buildings. This creates a close relationship between the houses and the park and a more intimate, elevated section of the park for the residents, just outside their home.

The housing blocks’ geometry is firm to the scale, character, and function of the surrounding context. The building of stores along the shopping street is kept in a low human scale, while the taller, slightly tilting residential buildings change their shape depending on which part of the city they relate to. Towards the modern, urban city center they grow taller, while they are smaller towards the area’s existing lamella buildings. The resulting building shapes frame exciting, varying apartment layouts on the inside, and give the buildings a lively, dynamic expression from the outside.

The variety is also thought into the facades, which from a distance seem white and similarly colored, but upon closer look reveal internal differences. In fact, each building bears its own, individual color, chosen from the color palette of the city of Uppsala. The color change is just slightly obvious behind an outer shell of perforated aluminum, which is decorated with a snowflake pattern.

The snowflake pattern creates an ever-changing façade that plays with the shifting shades and streams of sunlight that reach the buildings during the day. Other parts of the building are covered by a clear glass façade that reflects the sky.

The individual colors and shapes provide each building with its own identity and character. At the same time, the buildings are bound together by similar characteristics that unite them as a whole. Together they form a new context-cautious addition to the modern area of Uppsala, one that creates new connections between contrasts and makes it possible to live on the boundary between old and new, nature and the city.