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Competition for Kalmar Sweden - Shortlisted

Collaboration with the super-talented Draftworks* Architects, Nicosia.

‘Allemansrätten’

Forest covers approximately 66% of Sweden, whilst half of the forest area is privately owned. Most of these owners are families that own the land for many generations. What intrigued us during our research was the existence of an ancient customary law, which now has the value of a constitutional law. This law is called ‘Allemansrätten’, which means ‘everyman’s right’, and it describes the right of everyone to roam freely within forests, and nature in general, which is a right granted by the Constitution of Sweden and was highlighted by the Government in 1994 as the second most important right after the right to ownership.

Forest in the wider province of Småland covers around 50% of the land. In Kalmar the land covered by the forest is considerably less, due to human intervention. As a result of the growing size of urban areas, the natural landscape is being increasingly fragmented. The phenomenon is obvious at the Strategic Site where the forest exists as a highly fragmented organism, divided into isolated patches of land in various sizes, interrupted by housing establishments or cultivation. This fact forms as a result a landscape that cannot be understood as a unity.

In our project we understand the forest fragments equally important as the intervention itself. The patches of forest become the centre of the intervention, shifting the interest from the built towards the natural. We provide five tactics that work as the tools towards re-establishing the continuity of the forestry landscape. These are: 1. The ‘Shades of Green’ tactic, 2. The ‘Petri Dishes’ tactic, 3. The ‘Forest Routes Network’ tactic, 4. The ‘Involving the Students’ tactic, and 5. The ‘Connected Micro-environments’ tactic.

The fragmented forest becomes an opportunity and through the connection of the loose fragments, it is seen as a network, or an ‘archipelago’ of forestry islands. The owners, along with the local community, and by using the above tools, can define the final rules of this network. This intervention as a result does not become the barrier, but an agent of natural connectivity that bridges the once isolated environment with the local community, while at the same time enhances biodiversity.

Text by Draftworks* Architects.