The finite construction of one architect has led to the conglomerate of architecture firms and estates. Specifically, in Scandinavian architecture, the collision with their latest policies and focus on bio-ecological spaces allow the co-creation of natural environments with the local population. The elemental combinations of natural systems, strategies, and mechanisms are integral to wood-based developments. Exponential changes such as biotechnology, new energy & sustainability, nanotechnology, and blockchain all assimilate into biomimetic architecture. Knowing this, Scandinavia’s natural capital attains one of the healthiest economies and minimal pollution since it accounts for distributed economies and transformative growth. 

Such practices are further encroached as sustainable in Sweden, with ongoing discussions of the top sustainable architects practising in Sweden. Below are just ten of them. 

1. Sweco

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UN17 village_©Olrik, 2020

The architecture firm Sweco has 17,00 experts and over 1,300 architects. They assure a complete life cycle assessment of construction from planning to site supervision. Founded in 1958, it is the 4th largest architecture firm worldwide as they prioritize client services and co-create local solutions for sustainable design.

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New Bund Ecumenical Church. Shanghai, China_©Ábalos + Sentkiewicz, 2022

Sweden’s Sweco’s projects include:

The UN17 Village (Copenhagen, Denmark) – The World’s first village built using the UN 17 blueprint

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UN17 village_©Olrik, 2020

Grønttorvet, Valby (Copenhagen, Denmark) – Copenhagen’s greenest neighborhood 

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Valby, Copenhagen, Denmark_©Gruppen, 2020

The firm uproots urban districts with diverse residential neighbourhoods and green spaces. The democratisation of ensured sustainable sites is what encourages their elevation of clean energy. 

2. Biljana Janjušević

Janjušević uses central spaces for thermal machines in local climates to achieve full self-sufficiency. One of their practices in Sweden involves the Northern Lights, where it has a spatial manifestation of visual lighting in a project named Eslöv Civic Hall. 

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Northern Lights_©Hans Asplund, 2019

Inspired by Swedish architect Hans Asplund, the wood detailing and vernacular architecture of this project represents a focal point of lighting. The sustainable openness of modernism and funnelling allows a multipurpose foyer space and office block. This impression of craftsmanship imposes a high level of inauguration where the path for the audience is demarcated through the lamps. The relation between the roof, suspension strings, and lamps is what prevails as the structure’s purpose: total exposure. It is even expressed as one of the fluted gems of Swedish architecture.

3. White Arkitekter

Practicing in Sweden, the international firm provides a medium for global goals being fixated into global impact. Their project design consists of 40 specialists collectively working with social anthropologists and environmental specialists. Along with such environmental assessments, they consider Circular Architecture and Positive Energy districts to innovate according to climate. 

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Climate innovation district_©Climate Innovation District, 2021

One of their works includes the city’s Climate Innovation District of 516 low-energy homes. Similar projects include Magasin X, reducing cost and construction efficiency in large-scale structures. The Swedish firm’s concept is to decentralise high urban densities and flourish through environmental performance. Such housing is integrated with accessible social spaces and exemplar health models. They have encapsulated the ‘walkable’ city. 

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Magasin X, Upsala_©Tväråna, 2020

4. Tailor Made Arkitekter

The sustainable architecture practiced through Tailor Made Arkitekter is based on the construction of self-sustainable estates regarding energy, water, and nutrition. They integrate an unheated greenhouse in combination with well insulated, heat living models. Natural resources and materials are harvested through cycling systems. 

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Anki’s Greenhouse Home_©Anki, 2022

The systems innovation and water systems contrive as an increased resilience in high leverage systems, with community-owned wind projects and trade access energy locally. 

5. Archus

Archus’ sustainable practices in Sweden shows strength in collective competence with a holistic approach. Their research projects in architectural sustainability resulted in bio-tape adaptations with the combinations of modular and nested components. All of this is what the firm defines as the ‘whole’ building, using low-energy processes and cultivating cooperative relationships to the local environment. 

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Bäckby center, Västerås_©AB Mimer, 2021

6. Arkitema

This architectural firm researches transport mechanization, educational spaces, healthcare groups and hence designs workspaces that create connections between medical research and modern healthcare. An example is Østfold Hospital, its infrastructure uses the combined effort of rethinking current healthcare systems and medical distribution on the architectural platform. 

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Østfold Hospital_©Sør-Øst, 2021

It has proven to result in life-affirming influences to support patients’ recovery processes. When referencing the history of mental asylums and mental patient wards, the congenial treatment from the space was seen as negative. Now, a repositioning of layout has not only led the fit treatment to patients, but even promoted their rehabilitation into modern society. Arkitema looks into the sustainability of human psychosis, and the realm of architectural construct to this complex human construct. 

7. Åwl Arkitekter

The practices that Åwl architects support are what completed tens of thousands of homes in Stockholm, Östergötland, and, Västerås. 

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Grönkulla_©Owrenn, 2022

Its focus on social sustainability is what reinforces their standards to abide by BREEAM, Green Building, International Passive House Standard, LEED and Miljöbyggnad as well as with independent idea projects where the goal is to break new ground. Their 2020 sustainability reports show City Lab coordinators working to be resource efficient and making materials that always break down into benign constituents. 

8. Tengbom

Tengbom is a Swedish firm with practices in sustainable and strategic council environments. They contribute to the UN’s 17 SDGs in confirmation with the UN Habitat III New Urban Agenda. Their sustainability services reside from energy calculation to damp roofing to furniture selection. They have implemented an integrated environmental and quality system. 

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Bicycle Garage_©Öberg, 2019

Their drive to pursue internal and external frameworks have led to specialization in sustainable commitments. Some focal points include pedestrian and travel designations.

9. Liljewall Arkitekter

Being the renown Swedish construction firm of the Tresticklan National Park, Dalsland, Liljewall hastens forest conditions into a surgent clave of solid walls, no longer an obstruction or impediment of nature.  

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House of Knowledge_©Gamrell, 2019

Their methods of creating lush environments and modern interior rooftops have led them to be the winning group of Goldston 2021 for its construction of the House of Knowledge, north of the Arctic Circle in Gällivare. The NCS system of using the exterior redwood façade heavily differs depending on the supplier, hence the local involvement of landscape complemented the sheerly apparent structure. The school’s interior was cost efficient since it reused as much of the interior from the old school as possible. Collaborating with politically engaged Sami artists, a twisted artwork was created on the outer entrance to emphasize Sami culture and mine ports. 

10. Belatchew Arkitekter

One of Belatchew’s most esteemed practice in construction is the Discus skyscraper, which is a landmark for the municipality of Nacka, adjacent to the outskirts of Stockholm. 

Discus skyscraper_©Anon, 2022

The rhythmic simulation of visual flow, visceral appeal, and flexible flooring works in parallel to the co-lining and co-working unit. With its low energy consumption levels from rooftop solar panels, the apartment units coincide to a consequently sustainable structure. 

Citations

Fig 1.1, 1.3 Olrik, A., 2020. UN17 village. [online] Swecogroup.com. Available at: 

< https://www.swecogroup.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/02/TMRW_Arrival_Final-Edit-800×533.jpg  > [Accessed 7 August 2017].

Fig 1.2 Ábalos + Sentkiewicz. 2022. Ábalos + Sentkiewicz. [online] Available at: 

< https://www.abalos-sentkiewicz.com /> [Accessed 4 May 2022].

Fig 1.4 Gruppen, F., 2020. [online] Swecogroup.com. Available at: 

< https://www.swecogroup.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/02/groenttorvet_photo-niels-nygaard-02-768×512.jpg > [Accessed 18 January 2021].

Fig 2.1 Hans Asplund, H., 2019. [online] Hiddenarchitecture.net. Available at: 

< https://hiddenarchitecture.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/001-the-mushroom-column-in-the-foyer.jpg > [Accessed 6 June 2018].

Fig 3.1 Whitearkitekter.com. 2021. Climate Innovation District. [online] Available at: 

< https://whitearkitekter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/89A9456-820×507.jpg > [Accessed 1 April 2021].

Fig 3.2 Tväråna, A., 2020. Magasin X, Uppsala. [online] Whitearkitekter.com. Available at: 

< https://whitearkitekter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Magasin-X-White-Arkitekter-01-16.9-1040×585.jpg > [Accessed 7 March 2012].

Fig 4.1 Tailor-made.se. 2022. [online] Available at: 

< https://tailor-made.se/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Presentationsbild-01.jpg  > [Accessed 4 May 2022].

Fig 5.1 AB Mimer, B., 2021. Urban development architecture. [online] Archus.se. Available at: 

< https://www.archus.se/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Archus_Vasteras_backby-centrum_arkitektur1-1-400×200.jpg > [Accessed 11 November 2012].

Fig 6.1 Sør-Øst, H., 2021. Optimal logistics and functions. [online] E-architect.com. Available at: 

< https://www.e-architect.com/images/jpgs/norway/oestfold_hospital_arkitema260109_2.jpg > [Accessed 8 March 2022].

Fig 7.1 Owrenn, M., 2022. Grönkulla | ÅWL Arkitekter. [online] ÅWL Arkitekter. Available at: 

< https://awlark.se/projekt/gronkulla/ > [Accessed 18 November 2022].

Fig 8.1 Öberg, C., 2019. The Bicycle Garage. [online] Tengbom.se. Available at: 

< https://tengbom.se/app/uploads/sites/2/2021/06/67-00006.jpg > [Accessed 8 September 2022].

Fig 9.1 Gamrell, H., 2019. [online] Static.wixstatic.com. Available at: 

<https://static.wixstatic.com/media/f1209c_edefaf0bb908428b8bd406bd48294462~mv2.jpg/v1/fill/w_1262,h_1128,al_c,q_85,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01,enc_auto/f1209c_edefaf0bb908428b8bd406bd48294462~mv2.jpg > [Accessed 4 May 2022].

10.1 Belatchew.com. 2022. [online] Available at: 

< https://belatchew.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/belatchewarkitektersveafastigheternackadiscusgatuvy4000px-1276×1701.jpg > [Accessed 4 May 2022].

Author

Emma Mohammad is CEO of JustNow. She researches urban biophilic design for micro-architecture technologies whilst writing for various organizations such as Motus News, Greener is Cleaner, PathCheck foundation, and The Biomimicry Institute. Through writing on regenerative design, and eco-architecture, she has continued to delegate as a sustainable procurement (SPP) ambassador.

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