Stortorget Square, Kalmar
Caruso St John Architects 

Stortorget Square, Kalmar

Caruso St John Architects 

For the hundred years, the material history of the Swedish city of Kalmar has been marked by the shifting of stones, that were first extracted from the surrounding agricultural land to improve farming conditions and afterwards used to raise the boundary walls between properties; wall stones which, once pulled down, provided the raw material to pave the streets and squares of the Baroque town. The new square of Stortorget, located in the historic center, is shaped as an indistinct and empty space, covered only by several types of local stones, whose presence recalls this physical, almost primitive, transformation from rural land into urban ground.

The cut granite stones from the old curb, laid over the last eighty years to separate car and pedestrian circulation, have been removed to be reused elsewhere in the town, and the existing areas of field stones have been extended to reestablish a unitary and levelled surface, whereas the pedestrian routes and localized gathering places have been defined by a smoother detailing, whose light presence within the surface establishes the same difference in texture as that left by footprints on the sand or on snow. The paths are formed with large precast concrete slabs with a finish of smooth granite pebbles. The range of colors of the aggregate shall coincide with that of the larger stones, in such a way that one surface appears like an enlarged fragment of the other. The variety of types, colors and sizes of the field stones in the square set them apart from those used to pave the streets of Kalmar, which appear as bright minerals rather than as a homogeneous surface.

Aside from the new layout of the pavement, that is the essential intervention, other small insertions have been carried out with a sensual rather than a formal character and, in spite of their minimal physical presence, they are essential to the perception of the whole. A series of circular metallic grilles, grouped and carefully laid out, allow to hear the intriguing and surprising murmur of moving water, coming from a network of connected wells below the ground of the square. To round off this subtle audiovisual spectacle, tiny red lights are held within the ceiling of the square, on surrounding buildings, on the cathedral and on thin reflective masts that sway in the wind. At twilight time and during the night, these tiny spots create a virtual surface of red lights hovering above the square... [+]

Cliente Client

Kalmar Kommun-Mats Haglund

Arquitectos Architects

Adam Caruso & Peter St John

Colaboradores Collaborators

Lorenzo De Chiffre, Adam Khan, Alberto Sánchez, Silvia Ullmayer, Eva Löfdahl (artista artist)

Fotos Photos

Hélène Binet