Caruso St John Architects

1999–2003
Location: Kalmar, SE
Client: Municipality of Kalmar
Project Status: Built

Caruso St John Architects worked with the artist Eva Löfdahl in this project for the renewal of the town square around the baroque cathedral at the centre of Kalmar. The commission was initiated by the Swedish Arts Council, and began with an international competition. The project is intended to be a model of imaginative renovation in a situation of national historic significance.

During its 300 year history, Stortorget has been a location for political, military and religious representation, for commercial transactions, but most frequently for individual passage, reverie and coincidental meetings. The renewal of Stortorget has not been brought about by the pressure from new functions, but to contribute to a contemporary definition of public space. Concentrating on the physical condition of the square's surface, the design aims to lend dignity to the existing space by increasing one's awareness of its physical characteristics.

The project involved the removal of roads and pavements, and the re-establishment of a unitary surface of field stones, the primitive granite stones that were first used in the square. Pedestrian routes and sites for public events were accommodated within smoother surfaces of precast concrete slabs and cut granite sets.

Artistic interventions of lighting masts and wells emphasize the presence of the sea and the space above the square.