The park is located on former cemetery grounds in the centre of the industrial town of Norrköping, and dates back to the early 20th century when the former church was converted into an auditorium, now acting as a grand backdrop to the park. For many years, the old park was abandoned and regarded as unsafe. Major differences in height and a shed obstructed people passing through the park and views to the town’s historical core and river.
The main idea of the redesign was to remove the barrier created by the shed and to create a link through to the river transforming the park into an attractive urban space for people. The city centre grid plan is accentuated by linden trees along the surrounding streets, framing a more contemporary design within the park. During the archaeological excavation historical artefacts as well as new discoveries were made having a major impact on the new layout and design; an example of this is that the old maple trees could not be retained as they were in poor condition causing security risks.
By opening up the park and creating new diagonal flows, a connection between the city’s historic industrial core and and its commercial centre was created. The new stairs in the northwest corner visually and physically invite visitors to enter the park, and offer a place to relax and enjoy the water features and historical remnants displayed beneath the stairs. The relaxing sound of the water blocks noise from the streets.
The new open and distinct design of the interior of the park caters for both movement and for those dwelling. Besides the diagonal paths, the layout is based on the city’s dominating orthogonal pattern with elevated flowerbeds and distributed meeting places for seating and performing. The flowerbeds are placed on top of the ground to avoid negative impact on historical remnants, mainly old cemetery walls and graves. The flexibility of the planting structure made it possible to easily adapt to new findings on site.
A modest flooring of concrete, granite and stainless steel – in a grey colour scheme – accentuates the sparkling form and colours of flowers and plants. The perennial beds in varying heights and lengths are amalgamated in blooming fields with varying expressions over the year. The traditional selection of plants creates a homely atmosphere and sense of belonging, while the overwhelming blossoms in larger fields contribute to a contemporary expression and new landscape experiences. Old tree trunks from the site are re-used as multi-purpose park benches and for pollinating insects, adding warmth with the soft materiality of the wood.
Auditorium Park Hörsålsparken won the Siena Prize in 2015 and the Mies van der Rohe award in 2017.