Apartment buildings with room for play, art and recreation

The residential neighbourhood Rosendalsfältet is a proposal generated by ByggVesta in collaboration with Utopia Arkitekter. Here is where art is given ample space, both on the buildings' exterior and interior, as well as in the gardens. We aim to characterise select building facades with decor and paintings that interact with the design of the buildings, and to let the landscaping and greenery have a distinct focus on children and play.

In the proposal, we present a comprehensive concept that will be an explicit contribution to the creation of a neighbourhood – Rosendal phase 2 – which consists of the values and features that the municipality has specified in the competition brief.

Municipality Uppsala
Client Bygg Vesta
Type Vinst markanvisningstävling, bostäder
Year 2016

Our concept

Our concept is based on the development of two distinct focal topics as expressed in the criteria of the municipality's competition brief: play and recreational spaces for children, and the use of art within the grounds. Described below are some of the possibilities and advantages we see with our two topics as cornerstones for the development of Rosendal.


New developments are sometimes perceived as soulless and sterile, which is due to several factors: they are framed in, they may lack surrounding buildings, vegetation has not taken root, newly planted trees are small and the area may not feel "settled in", natural destinies and connections to the older buildings may not yet have been established or may be on bad terms. How can we best counter that sense in an area like Rosendal? One credible answer to that question is to let art and artistic decor play a central role in the area. We believe that will provide opportunities from the start to put a distinct character on the area, which will contribute to an increased sense of comfort and identity.

Some of the possibilities we want to promote include:

  1. Creating a unique and interesting profile that helps in the establishment of the area. That the city and developers together produce a viable brand for Rosendal that builds on the municipality's ambitions and that communicates the area's qualities and potential as a node for children and art.

  2. Making art visible and clearly present on facades, streets, squares, in gardens and parks. This can be accomplished through both permanent and temporary art activities, such as art exhibitions, sculpture parks, installations, murals, etc.

  3. Municipal accommodation of art studios within the area, which would create jobs and add value by generating activity in the area during the day. The developer is encouraged to cooperate with artists in order to continuously foster the evolution of art in Rosendal.

  4. Engaging local artists to embellish gardens, buildings and stairwells, which provides natural local pride.

  5. Initiating the Rosendal Art Association together with developers and influential artists.

  6. Utilising recycled materials, greenery and the consistent application of an environmentally sustainable approach to artistic decor.


There are many advantages of placing extra care in creating high quality environments that are well adapted to children of different ages. Connecting a child perspective to the arts will create unique qualities and experiences for families in Rosendal, which will enhance the added value of living in the area, and which will create a solid foundation for marketing of the area. Below are some suggestions to help give Rosendalsfältet a distinctive profile with focus children:

  1. Preschool and after-school care within the neighbourhood that focus on artistic creativity, in spaces that can be used in the evenings by residents for courses, etc.

  2. Playground for artistic creativity designed by local artists in collaboration with international authorities on children's creative development.

  3. A children's own cultivation plot and greenhouse/playhouse in the gardens.

  4. Outdoor playground under a transparent roof with solar cells that generate electricity for the building and infrared heat under the sunroof on cold winter days.

  5. Some of the artistic decor can be done by children in the area in collaboration with local artists.

  6. Paddling pool, bird feeder and water sculptures will allow for play and learning, while making use of stormwater.

  7. Storage spaces for toys in connection with the gardens and stairwells.

As illustrated here, there are several conceptual points of contact where the two topics crossbreed one another.

By actively working with the above suggestions, we will create a compelling and viable concept in which we also naturally incorporate a sustainable approach.

Art is given generous space in our neighbourhood. Some of the facades are characterised by decor and paintings that interact with the design of the buildings, and let the design of the gardens and greenery have a clear focus on children, play and art.


In order to make Rosendal a multifaceted and exciting environment, we are creating an expressive and eventful architecture and landscape design. One feature that clearly contributes to the varied formation is the area's fragmentary character and different building heights. The scale of the site is reduced by designing the structures as several smaller connected volumes. A motley design in terms of volume, height and the mutual building placement creates a sense of being a natural extension of the city rather than the character of a typical, newly developed "peripheral area".

We can provide a varied design in a rational and cost-effective manner by working with a limited number of visual "building blocks" that we combine in a large number of ways without resulting in a sense of repetition. The alternating roof heights and designs provide a roofscape that contributes to the playful and personal character of the neighbourhood. By virtue of a clearly unifying design, the overall picture presents a distinct medley without looking disarrayed.

Our buildings have pronounced plinth levels of a different, sustainable and durable material. The roofs are of metal and have a soft and playful expression. We attain this by extending parts of the roof down the facade, and by concealing lift shafts and ventilation equipment under constructed dormers that give the buildings a new yet old character. Other facades are rendered and have elements of murals and other artistic embellishments.

In addition to the scale and mutual placement of the buildings, beautiful and carefully designed details also provide a clearly distinctive character that will differentiate itself from today's often monotonous architecture. These details include differently designed entrances and balconies. To further enhance the unique characteristics in these elements, we use varied and unexpected designs, patterns and materials rather than standard solutions.

Vibrant street levels

A fundamental character trait in an urban environment is that the street levels of buildings in various ways contribute to city life. To ensure that Rosendal will grow socially richer over time, we are making all ground floors flexible and tolerable to change. Solutions for attaining this include higher ceilings on those ground floors that house business premises, cycle storage, recycling and waste. That will facilitate any change of use and businesses over time.

The design of the ground floors and variation of the facades clearly contribute to creating the vibrant street environment the city needs.

A local square with a mural in the northwest corner will be a meeting place for residents and visitors. This is a perfect place for a cafe with outdoor seating.


Artistic decor in the form of murals is a simple and rewarding way to put a unique touch on buildings and neighbourhoods. Our proposal includes a number of facades that can be beautifully used for murals in a way that adds value to both residents and passers-by.

Stairways and entrances

Stairways and entrances are excellent places for a more personal and vibrant design. Our entrances are varied materially, which gives the stairways clearly different characters. Garden plots for cultivation adjacent to the stairways and space for artistic decor offer expressions that can vary between the different parts of the neighbourhood, as well as change over time. All entrances are open-ended, bright, airy and welcoming.

Front gardens

Front gardens facing the street create a smooth transition from the public road to the private homes. By the entrances, these gardens will have space for bicycles, benches and plants.

Artistic embellishments

Art is given generous space in our neighbourhood, both on the inside and outside of the buildings, as well as in the gardens. We want to let some facades be characterised by decor and paintings that interact with the design of the buildings, and let the design of the gardens and greenery have a clear focus on children, play and art.

The backyard

The outdoor surroundings between the buildings have the character of a pleasant, intimate garden with focus on children and art. The garden spaces between the buildings are meticulously planned with lawns, flowerbeds, cultivation allotments, greenhouses and activity areas like playgrounds and barbeques.

Seating areas, front gardens, playgrounds, cultivation plots, greenhouses, hammocks, climbing sculptures and other artistic embellishments all contribute to social quality. Here people can meet and socialise for extended periods. Playgrounds and other activity areas for children are placed adjacent to adult activity areas in order to create the best possible enjoyment for both kids and grown-ups.

The sense of security within the area is important and all outdoor areas have well planned and sufficient lighting at night.

Situation plan

Front gardens facing the street create a smooth transition from the public road to the private homes. The outdoor surroundings between the buildings have the character of a pleasant, intimate garden with focus on children and art.

Social, economic and environmental sustainability

Participation, commitment and responsibility

Artistic embellishments, flexible solutions for outdoor areas, and ground floor spaces all contribute to happiness in the area, as well as to the possibility of change as people's needs change. A basic requirement for creating genuine happiness in an area is that residents are allowed to develop and put their own mark on the building and surroundings.

Our goal is that the buildings and surroundings, through their design and activities available, will inspire a sense of participation, commitment and responsibility. We want to provide our residents with the sense of community and the ability to influence both their home and immediate environment.

Our proposal is designed to "build in" natural interactions with neighbours and local residents from all walks of life in order to promote happiness, security and community. Common areas both indoors and out will feel naturally relevant, attractive and accessible for all and on equal terms. We believe that these opportunities for neighbourly togetherness and activities in the area will promote all three aspects of participation, involvement and responsibility.

When we design our projects, the residents' sense of security is important. For gardens, entrances, passageways and concealed spaces, it is paramount with good lighting, clear boundaries and visibility. The exterior environments will be designed so that all ages and target groups are invited to lounge or pass through. Where the private property begins and ends is not marked by gates, but by a clarity that enables harmonious interactions within the neighbourhood.

Resident manager

A sustainable lifestyle is clearly linked to happiness and care. As property manager, ByggVesta want to be available for their tenants. In those areas with enough units, they employ their own manager who quickly develops close and personal contact with the residents. For many projects, especially concerning young residents, we plan for a managerial space where a dedicated resident ambassador is on site to support the residents and to create a sense of security and stability. This can be evolved to include community activities where our ambassadors act as hosts for barbeques or swap meets. ByggVesta's web portal is an important point of contact between the residents and the manager.

Sharing economy – swap, borrow and donate

Today we are buying more stuff than ever before. Unfortunately, much of that stuff mostly collects dust on a shelf. On the other hand, the trend to swap, borrow and donate is firmly on the rise, both in Sweden and internationally.

ByggVesta have capitalised on that by including a feature in the managerial office, where one is available, to allow residents to borrow more costly tools, garden machines and kitchen appliances at no extra charge. Things that are costly to buy but rarely used. The loan feature is convenient, it saves money, it contributes to reduced consumption, and it creates an enhanced sense of community and positive connection to one's landlord and home in regards to both sustainability and service.

In the managerial office, ByggVesta's resident manager will also be able to receive items in good condition that people want to donate, which is another way of promoting increased recycling and a stronger environmental approach.


Mixed apartment sizes

Rosendal is an area for people of all walks of life. Our random structure with varied building modules allows us to combine different forms of housing and spaces directly adjacent to or near one another. This mixture ensures a more socially diverse and interesting environment.

Our proposal consists of the following types of housing:

*Traditional apartments with a mixed selection ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms

*Smart studio and 1-bedroom flats

Visible stormwater solutions in connection with play areas

Stormwater on the property is delayed through permeable surfaces such as rock dust, and of course the lush vegetation. Roof gutter water is collected in containers where children and grownups can retrieve water for play and irrigation. Excess water in the garden accumulates in two low channels with allowance for overflow to surrounding streets and municipal sewerage.

Green contracts

Living a sustainable life is first and foremost about awareness and encouragement, but also about technical and practical solutions. ByggVesta have high environmental goals and ask that their tenants share these. They therefore sign green contracts with their tenants that they follow up on a regular basis. The purpose of the contracts is for a landlord to offer the best possible solutions for the tenant to make the right environmental choices through the way we design and equip the apartments and buildings.
It must be straightforward to do waste disposal and recycling correctly.

Bicycle rooms must be accessible and attractive.

A repair shop and bicycle pump will be located adjacent to the bicycle room. These features are linked to communication channels where we inform tenants about the property's environmental performance with regards to energy consumption, car ownership, waste and recycling, and compare these to the reference property.
Reducing the consumption of resources is especially stimulated by our model to individually gauge and charge each tenant on their use of water and heat. We hold various "competitions" in which we as landlord aim to encourage our tenants to contribute to a reduced environmental footprint from our buildings. The prize is primarily the knowledge that they have contributed to extending the life of the earth's resources, but of course they also deserve a movie ticket or two for doing something good!

Reducing dependence on cars – loaner bicycles, bicycle rooms and repair shop

Within the area, ByggVesta offer a number of electric cargo bikes on loan to residents. We also offer nice and easily accessible cycle rooms with the capacity for DIY repair. To further encourage and facilitate the use of bicycles in the area, we are exploring the possibility of hiring an on-site bicycle repairman/repair shop. All these initiatives, along with well-built cycle paths, will make it easier for residents to choose the bicycle over the car for both long and short distances.

Green building

We endeavour to certify our buildings at Gold level of the Sweden Green Building Council.

Locally produced energy within the building

The roofs are designed to accommodate solar cells or solar panels (that more effectively extract solar energy and provide better energy efficiency for water heating). Applied solar cells and/or panels are expected to significantly reduce the need for purchased power for electricity and heat.

Self-Heating Buildings

Our Self-Heating Buildings are very close to the classification of passive house. Meeting all of FEBY's criteria requires efforts that provide very little environmental profit at unreasonably high costs considering the small energy gain created. The Self-Heating Building is a sustainable economic solution that balances the cost of production with very low energy consumption.

Environmental sustainability during construction.

To ensure good sustainability in the production phase, we set requirements on our contractors during the tender process. When procuring frames from other countries, these are to be transported mainly by ship or train, not by truck. Construction heating must be connected to the district network at an early stage. We also require that construction electricity be eco-labelled and that the contractor's sheds be modern with good energy efficiency. All materials must be approved by Basta or Byggvarubedömningen, and the contractor's adherence to these requirements is carefully checked off at every design and construction meeting.

We have entered a partnership with a development project for a connected database that will provide a more comprehensive documentation of environmental performance, and traceability in traditional construction similar to what can be achieved in a more industrial process. A sustainability expert is entrusted to survey the project's requirement specifications and to carefully ensure that the construction does not affect the groundwater with regards to level and quality.