A giant, hovering, solar-powered sphere will welcome visitors to Stockholm as the centrepiece of the winning design for a new motorway ‘super-junction’

he centrepiece of the design is a hovering sphere that mirrors a 180-degree view of the area for drivers on their way into or out of the capital
The centrepiece of the design is a hovering sphere that mirrors a 180-degree view of the area for drivers on their way into or out of the capital

Architecture firm BIG, together with its partners Grontmij and Spacescape, came up with the ambitious design to win the Stockholmsporten master plan competition.

The planned Hjulsta Intersection, located 15 km north of Stockholm where two European highways converge into a three-level junction, is the largest infrastructure project in Sweden.

The centrepiece of the design is a hovering sphere that mirrors a 180-degree view of the area for drivers on their way into or out of the capital. Thirty percent of the sphere’s surface is covered with photovoltaic film that faces the sun and produces enough energy to keep it floating while supplying 235 nearby houses with electricity.

The intersecting roads will cut through surrounding neighbourhoods, dividing them into four areas totalling 580,000 m2. BIG’s proposal, the Energy Valley, reconnects these neighbourhoods through a continuous circular bike and pedestrian loop aligned with public buildings, including a shopping and sports centre, a hammam and a mosque, which will attract visitors from Stockholm and its suburbs.

The scheme incorporates a variety of natural environments, including a park of pine and oak forests, wetlands, grass lawns and hilly terrain, which create a diverse experience when moving around the landscape.

“The Energy Valley is a crossover between urbanism, landscape, architecture, art and infrastructure into a new neighbourhood of Stockholm,” said Bjarke Ingels, founder and partner, BIG. “Harnessing the momentum of the massive investment in tunnels and highways and putting the excess excavation to use as a man-made valley, we create an interdisciplinary hybrid of logistic, economic, environmental and social infrastructure.”

View a recent TED talk by Ingels discussing his work.

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