This exhibition presents the predicament for architects working on a large scale in cities scarred by the twentieth-century approach to urbanism. It is shown through the example of a major master plan for the Slussen area of Stockholm, designed by Jean Nouvel (Ateliers Jean Nouvel) and Mia Hägg (Habiter Autrement).
“The city of the twentieth century was the result of a series of sector-based decision that were dominated by ideologies bound up with function and urgency. Time-honored cities were disregarded, brutalized, traumatized, invaded, and asphyxiated by combustion engines and their exhaust fumes. Pedestrians were pushed aside, driven back to narrow footpaths.”
In this project, though, such a situation is shown to be an opportunity for inventing new, unconventional forms of urban living. Instead of hostile divisions and barrieres, the idea is to make connections, promote encounters, and create clarity in the midst of calm. This is achieved through the creation of “meeting lines”. In Stockholm, the urban development master plan is designed to link the historic inner-city neighbourhood of Gamla Stan to Södermalm, the main island in the south, allowing the roadways and railways to be transformed into areas of shared urban recreation. This is achieved through three links.
The first is at the point where the fresh water meets the sea, joining the two main commercial streets. The second covers the subway with a 400-meter-long urban “lounge”. The third tops an inner-city freeway with a surface of playgrounds and playing fields, an between the boats. Each of these spaces is a linear conjunction of functions and contrasts. The idea was to create three new spaces that extend each of the divided neighbourhoods.