Town Hall Square, Umeå

Town Hall Square (Rådhustorget) in Umeå provides a stately setting for the Town Hall, a red-brick building in the Dutch Renaissance style that dates from 1888—it stands as the center point of the largest city in northern Sweden. The new square plays a major role in the structuring of the city’s public space, pairing the carefully considered use of trees with a simply paved central area. An allée of maples (Acer rubrum) running along the square’s east side ends at a low glazed pavilion with indoor as well as outdoor café service, oriented optimally to maximize the beneficial effects of the sun. The allée to the west, in turn, finishes with a crab apple grove (Malus “Everest”) that blooms as a spectacular mass of white in May. The canopies of these trees hover over a set of shallow canals that resembles a system of irrigation channels. Six stone amphorae, an artwork by sculptor Pål Svensson, are the source of the water. The paving in the central part of the square is laid out as a carpet, with a pattern inspired from a local weaving technique using two colors of granite. This part of the square is purposely kept open to hold events of different kinds that vary with the seasons. In the winter, a labyrinth of snow occupies the space. In summer, visitors may encounter an occasional outdoor cinema, market, or some other spontaneous event. Movable chairs offer informal seating. They are all marked with the birch leaf, the symbol of Umeå. Because of Umeå’s location at 65 degrees north latitude, any landscape design for the city must acknowledge seasonal change, for example, with a lighting program especially created for the dark winter months.

Town Hall Square, Umeå, Sweden

Landscape architect: Thorbjörn Andersson @ Sweco Architects

Design team: PeGe Hillinge, Tobias Phersson, Fredrik Schönfeldt, Niklas Ödmann (lighting), Pål Svensson (sculpture)

Area: 9,000 square meters

Opened: 2018

SWECO Architects

P.O. Box 17920

SE- 118 95 Stockholm, Sweden

Telephone +46 8 522 952 00

For further information contact

Thorbjörn Andersson, Sweco Architects

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