Uppsala Town Hall
Uppsala Town Hall unites old and new, with its modern working methods and unique design concepts. The interior has been inspired by the flora of Uppsala and has become a symbol for diversity with space for all.
In the heart of central Uppsala stands the modern yet classic town hall that has become a landmark for the city. The structure was built in its original form in the 1960s and has recently undergone remodelling and extension courtesy of Danish architecture studio Henning Larsen. The 26,000 m2 building has been designed to accommodate up to 1,800 employees and the scope of the project is proof that this is no ordinary municipal building. Three public entrances lead directly into an atrium with greenery and walkways across to an attractive courtyard building.
“There’s a feeling of being both indoors and out at the same time. Large welcoming expanses of glass and leafy trees make for a truly dynamic indoor environment. The existing building is old and was built using a different material to the structures that make up the extension. So a great deal of work has gone into ensuring the design tastefully integrates the various elements,” explains Therese Löwstedt from Indicum interior designers AB, which is responsible for the interior design concept.
Optimised working areas
The new town hall marks a new era for many of Uppsala’s municipal employees. A new workplace has in this instance also brought with it a new, activity-based, working method. Permanent office spaces have been relinquished in favour of more flexible working areas.
“Uppsala Municipality had already introduced an activity-based working method at several of its offices. This means that employees can choose their workspace based on three different types of activity zones. A high-focus zone, where you can work undisturbed. A medium-focus zone, where staff can work individually or collaborate with others, and a low-focus zone with open working areas. It’s a concept that the municipality has been developing for several years and it is now being implemented for all employees in the new town hall,” explains Magnus Nordelind, who served as Input interior’s supervising sales representative and project manager.
Inclusive colour scheme
Public services and democracy are two key principles that characterise the design of the new town hall. Capacity to welcome large numbers of visitors during opening hours is vital. The aim is also to improve the work environment for employees, develop the urban environment and ensure as small a climate footprint as possible. With this in mind, Uppsala Municipality and Indicum interior designers AB have developed a unique colourful interior design concept based on the flora of Uppsala. A concept and a vision that Input interior has played a part in realising.
“For the Uppsala Town Hall project, we have employed an exciting strategy, with the interiors at the northern end of the building being dominated by cool colours such as blue and green, while the southern end primarily features warm colours, with yellow and red being the most prominent. The building is intended to bring to mind a flower meadow with many different plants, colours and impressions that collectively form an attractive whole. It’s a metaphor for the diversity and creativity to be found within the building,” concludes Therese Löwstedt.
“A meeting place for the town, that’s what the new town hall is. All residents of Uppsala should feel welcome here and it should be straightforward for them to obtain the help they want and need. The interior itself should also contribute to the sense of openness and democracy. The new workplace is shared by both politicians and public officials alike, with accessibility for all,” says Anna Malmquist, who is the project manager for Uppsala Municipality.
A clear sustainability focus has permeated the entire project, with ambitious objectives from the outset as to how it could be implemented in a sustainable way, and the complex has now been awarded a BREEAM Excellent rating – a property that contributes significantly to a better environment. For one thing, many partially worn-out items of furniture have been given a new lease of life through a circular usage model.
“Reusing the municipality’s existing furnishings has been an important and substantial element of the project. By means of direct re-use and reconditioning the municipality has been able to make savings in terms of both financial and natural resources. As supervisor for the process, we have also taken the opportunity of replacing table tops and reupholstering and refinishing chairs to fit the new colour scheme of the building,” says Magnus Nordelind.
The older part of the building boasts high-quality materials. Period interior details such as marble staircases, decorative light fittings and teak window frames have been retained as part of the renovation work. In order to maintain the architectural value of the building, high-quality materials have been used consistently throughout the new areas as well.
“We have supplied quality furniture at a great price, which is a big difference from cheap furniture. For everyone involved, sustainability has been an essential aspect and the quality of the furniture is a key component in that. Making use of materials that will last and that offer a useful life that can be extended through reconditioning. That provides a saving for the future,” concludes Magnus.