"It rains nearly 40% of the time in the Swedish city – so why not try to make
the most of it?"
"One of the best examples of the Rain Gothenburg approach is the design for a
new school, Torslandaskolan, the competition for which was titled “The world’s
best school when it’s raining”. Under the winning proposal, by Stockholm’s Link
Arkitektur, rainfall from the roofs will be channelled down wide pipes on the
side of the building into pools, then towards a river or canal that runs
through the schoolyard, where it can be controlled with sluices, and then
through a “glacial area” where the water is broken up by concrete blocks,
before seeping away into a natural delta marshland of puddles and stepping
stones. Over one entrance, rainwater will cascade down a waterfall.
“The schoolyard will change naturally and have a different appearance when the
weather is different,” says Anna Rolf, one of the architects who worked on the
design. “Normally you just try to take all the water away and want it to be
clean and look the same every day.”
On dry days, the riverbed can be used for skateboarding (outside school hours).
The marshland will feature different types of vegetation and, crucially, real
mud. “There’s been a decision that it’s OK for them to get muddy, and there
will be hoses outside so you can wash the kids before they go back inside,”
The Rain Gothenburg project was launched as part of the 400th anniversary of
the city’s founding by Gustav II Adolf, the king who for a short period turned
Sweden into a major European power. But if Thoms Ivarsson and the project
leader, Magnus Mott, have their way, it will become a permanent part of the way
the city is run. After all, climate change means a lot of cities are going to
get wetter, so we may as well seek to enjoy it."
Share and enjoy,
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics