The planned Hjulsta Intersection 15 km north of Stockholm where two European highways the E18 and E4 bypasses converge into a three level intersection, amounts to the largest infrastructure project in Sweden, required due to the growth and development of the capital. The Stockholmsporten competition seeks to define the Hjulsta intersection through sculpting the surrounding landscape and framing the automotive scale of the intersection. Additionally the proposal connects the adjacent Järvafältet recreation area through a continuous promenade to the distinctive natural and heritage‐laden environment and adds new qualities to the site. BIG was selected as the winner of the invited competition among proposals from Norwegian Snøhetta, Danish landscape architect Kristine Jensen and Swedish Erik Giudice Architects.
Prior to this competition, the intersecting roads would create physical and visual barriers between the surrounding neighborhoods and divide them into four areas totaling 580.000 m2. BIG’s proposal, the Energy Valley, re‐connects these in an un‐hierarchical and democratic way through a continuous circular bike and pedestrian loop aligned with public buildings and functions, including a shopping‐ and sports centre, a hammam and a mosque which will attract visitors from Stockholm and its suburbs.
By introducing natural environments of differing characters within the loop, an Energy Valley in the center turns into a pie shaped park of pine‐and oak forests, wetlands, grass lawns and hilly terrain which create a diverse experience when moving in or around the landscape. The surrounding neighborhoods have room to grow, thus expanding infrastructure and developments up to the ridge of the new valley.
“The Energy Valley is a cross‐over between urbanism, landscape, architecture, art and infrastructure into a new neighborhood of Stockholm. Harnessing the momentum of the massive investment in tunnels and highways and putting the excess excavation to use as a man‐made valley, we create an interdisciplinary hybrid of logistic, economic, environmental and social infrastructure.” Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Partner, BIG.
The site has a great potential in serving as a new entryway into Stockholm. This point is turned into a reflective, self‐sustaining hovering sphere mirroring Stockholm as it is, new and old, creating a 180 degree view of the area for the drivers on their way in or out of the city. 30% of the sphere’s surface is covered with Photovoltaic film that faces the sun and produces enough energy to keep it floating while supplying 235 houses in the neighborhood with electricity. The Stockholm Sphere is an ever changing icon that marks an entry point to the city and reflects the passing seasons and the evolving urban life beneath it.
“Traditionally highways split adjacent areas into disconnected neighborhoods – a good side and a bad side. Our biggest challenge was how to create the maximum benefit by connecting the four parts cut by the intersecting highways. The intersection is thus tamed by the connecting link that circumscribes it.” Jakob Lange, Partner‐in‐ Charge, Stockholmsporten, BIG.