Utopia Arkitekter Reinterprets Stockholm's Vernacular Architecture

A new housing development called Söderkåkar in Stockholm is aiming to provide a modern interpretation of the area’s 19th century vernacular architecture. Designed by Utopia Arkitekter, the residential structures impose the contemporary emphasis on sustainability and function within the traditional all-wood construction of the past, fitting into the existing infrastructure while maintaining a distinct character.

Site Plan

Deriving its name from the area’s architectural history, Söderkåkar refers to the vernacular red wood shacks of the old Södermalm district. Speaking to this, the development utilizes a similar timber construction method while modernizing the structures through a dynamic "corkscrewed" form. As another nod to the past, Söderkåkar is treated with the traditional Swedish red paint.

Consisting of three houses occupying what is currently a parking lot, the project provides 50 apartments ranging in size from three to five rooms, as well as a kindergarten, restaurant, and café at ground level. The buildings vary in height from four to seven stories in response to their immediate context, with the shorter houses facing the old district and mirroring its compact scale. In contrast, the tallest building faces an urban area and emulates its lofty, modern character.


To maximize benefits to the community, Söderkåkar dissolves the development into three distinct structures. Individualization diversifies the character of the district, while the space between the houses counteracts density and provides areas for private gardens. The spacing also contributes to the maximization of views and natural daylighting via bay windows and balconies for each apartment.

In terms of sustainability, the traditional wood construction utilizes a renewable resource, while the roofs are outfitted with solar panels to power the development. A 42-space underground parking garage accommodates residents’ transportation needs while keeping emissions away from the occupied space.

Construction is expected to begin within the next few years.

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Cite: Holly Giermann. "Utopia Arkitekter Reinterprets Stockholm's Vernacular Architecture" 19 Apr 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/621274/utopia-arkitekter-development-puts-a-modern-spin-on-stockholm-s-vernacular-architecture> ISSN 0719-8884

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