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How The Fish Market Plaza Revamped This Forgotten Site

The-Fish-Market-Plaza

Fish Market Plaza by Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects in Karlskrona, Sweden.  Does a spatial quality create a place or does it happen the other way around? Perhaps it works both ways. In the case of Fish Market Square, or “Fiskertorget Plaza” in Swedish, the place still exists under the same name, but everything else related to the market function is long gone. The Fish Market Plaza is located in Karlskrona, Sweden. Karlskrona, which means Carolu’s Crown, has always been an important harbor. Nowadays, it is also one of the most picturesque cities in Sweden and is protected as a World UNESCO Heritage Site.

Fish Market Plaza plan by Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

Fish Market Plaza plan by Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

The Fish Market Plaza

There used to be a Market Hall for selling fish where the square is now, but it was torn down in the 1960s. The only thing left after the demolition was the name of the site and a gap of potential waiting to be shaped. In 2009, a new intervention started to take shape, designed by Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects. The main purpose of the design has been to reconnect the city with the water’s edge and create a new spot for meeting and leisure.

Sketch of the Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

Sketch of the Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

A surface made of wood called the “Sun Deck” brings the visitor close to the water and extends the land limit toward the sea, like an L-shaped pier. The “Podium” lies on the “Sun Deck”. It is an elevated wooden volume that reaches toward the archipelago. The “Podium” is illuminated during the night in order to create a landmark that can be seen from a distance. It resembles a lantern that has just emerged from the deck surface.
Sketch of the Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

Sketch of the Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

Contribution by Artist Pål Svensson The Fish Market also is home to the sculpture “Doldrums”, created by the artist Pål Svensson. The sculpture is made of granite and glass. The Doldrums is an equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean characterized by calm, sudden storms, and light, unpredictable winds. The sculpture makes a reference to the naval tradition of Karlskrona.
The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

Use of Materials in the Project A pavement made of granite forms the entrance toward an adjacent hotel building and leads to the Sun Deck. There is a sitting area on the granite surface shaded by a row of field Maples (Acer ginnala). The row of trees marks the way toward the water’s edge and shapes the edge of the Fish Market Square. A stone retaining wall divides the granite surface from the lower part of the promenade. A spacious staircase located on the east side brings the visitor back to the square. The intervention works in a simple, subtle way in order to bring visitors close to the water’s edge and create a place for public life to develop. The clarity of the lines, the surface geometry, and the simplicity of the design fit well in an area overloaded with historical urban context.
The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

How will it benefit from being close to the sea? The fact that a city has been located near the sea does not necessarily mean that it has established its connection to the water. This is a condition that needs to be examined, redefined, and shaped over and over again, according to the current needs and demand. Other Articles Featuring Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects:

The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

The Fish Market Plaza – 60 Years in the Making

What is astonishing about the Fish Square Market is that although the Market Hall was demolished almost 60 years ago, it took this long for the city to redefine the space’s identity. It could have been due to financial and other reasons. However, I could not help but think that the Fish Market has been more than a hall for the city’s perception of this particular place.

The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

The Fish Market Plaza. Image courtesy of Thorbjörn Andersson & Sweco Architects

Space and function seem to have merged into one, in the public notion and the redefining of the spatial character, but keeping the same name is an important indication of that. This intervention reveals a process characterized by social conditions, historical continuity, and contemporary needs and shows that landscape architecture needs to tackle many different factors, on various levels, in order to be successful. Recommended Reading:

Article by Eleni Tsirintani Return to Homepage

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