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Vänersborg, Sweden


11 ha

Invited competition 



City of Vänersborg


Martin Arfalk, Patrick Verhoeven, Per Crona, Andrei Deacu, Martin Nilsson, Johanna Verbaan, Jessica Stewart, Annika Söderberg


Benthem Crouwel Architects, David Svensson

The Cultural Axis

Bringing Clarity to a Historic Public Space

The cultural axis is a historically important part of central Vänersborg that has become increasingly peripheral and disconnected from city life. The site, once clear in aesthetics and concept, is now unfocused, overgrown and fractured. Our design to revitalise the  park focuses on redefining the site’s borders, bringing clarity to the axis,  and incorporating new functions to create a civic meeting place for the inhabitants of the city. 


The axis is made of a sequence of renewed spaces that are reconnected by unified site furnishings and strengthened visual connections.  The heart of the revitalisation is the market square.  Here the design establishes a level surface and coherent floor pattern that allow for its flexible use. In the central section, two forest-like blocks are merged and reshaped into a structure that places the church inside a magnificent colonnade.  Within the colonnade all the sculptures of the axis are collected and displayed.   In the far east, the former school plot is transformed into an enclosed cultural hub that combines adapted buildings, a new cultural building and an inner arboretum.

Reestablishing Clarity 

Programatic, visual, and material clarity are reestablished 

One unified axis 

Site furnishings and strong visual connections create a unified sequence of spaces

A Civic Space

Strengthened borders and reconnected edges integrate the park into Vänersborg 

A Sculpture Park

Within the colonnade of trees, the axis sculptures are collected and displayed

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