Earlier this year, JTP had the pleasure to be invited on a study tour to visit Malmö, Sweden by BoKlok - an established and successful partnership between Skanska and IKEA. In this Monologue piece, JTP Associate Donald Sayers discusses what the trip entailed and our collaborative working relationship with BoKlok who launched their concept in the UK in 2019.
BoKlok’s Consultant Team - photo by Lisa Wikstrand
BoKlok is a home ownership concept from Sweden, owned by Skanska and IKEA that produces sustainable, high-quality, low-cost, space-saving homes at a price that enables as many people as possible to afford a comfortable home. The first BoKlok homes were completed in 1997 and now almost 14,000 homes have been delivered throughout Sweden, Finland and Norway.
Achieved through modern methods of construction (MMC) which uses timber-frame modular technology to produce schemes of up to four storeys, the buildings comprise separate modules, all of which are fabricated off-site in a factory, and then transported to the building site for assembly. About 80% of the house is built off-site while the actual on-site construction takes up to four weeks. The result is cost-effectiveness and high-quality control.
BoKlok have recently adapted their business model and product range to suit the UK’s regulatory environment and market and for several years, JTP have been working with BoKlok to bring their building systems and project range to the UK market. To strengthen our understanding of BoKlok’s ethos, JTP recently joined BoKlok and a selection of other consultants on a study trip to Sweden. The visit was a great opportunity to explore some of their projects and gain an insight into their company ethos and how we might incorporate some of their design initiatives into the BoKlok UK model.
Since their introduction to the UK market, JTP have collaborated with BoKlok, with initial work focussing on the development of an apartment building typology to be deployed across their sites in the UK. Buildings are envisaged to be three to four storeys and can be assembled in different configurations to best suit the requirements of a particular location, with apartments clustered around a standard central core and accessed from a double loaded internal corridor.
Subsequent work has culminated in the development and delivery of the planning approval for their first UK homes at Airport Road, Bristol featuring a mix of 77 houses and 96 apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms. The project is now on site and due for completion in early 2023.
The trip to Malmö, Sweden was organised as an opportunity for BoKlok’s various design consultants, landscape architects, planning consultants and stakeholders to meet in a collaborative environment, be introduced to the BoKlok company ethos and have the opportunity to view some of their completed projects at Drottninghog, Silvia Bo, Glasorten and Synalen.
Each of the projects demonstrated BoKlok’s commitment to providing safe communities where people of different backgrounds and all age groups can thrive, through the creation of shared communal outside spaces that promote community interaction. The neighbourhood at Drottninghog has an impressive community garden with raised planters and seated areas with barbeque fire pits that were well used and promotes a strong sense of community for the residents and the surrounding area.
Designed specifically for dementia patients, Silvia Bo had a beautifully considered design for a communal garden that promoted peace, tranquillity and calmness for the residents with dementia. These communal garden areas are elements of the BoKlok philosophy that we have been integrating into our designs for the UK market, and it was excellent to see it in practice on established communities and how successfully it has worked.
Dementia Apartments with Sensory Gardens at Silvia Bo
The study trip proved to be an inspiring insight into the Swedish BoKlok model which has given us a deeper understanding and wider knowledge of the BoKlok philosophy and their ultimate aim to achieve high-quality and affordable sustainable living for the many. The attention to detail of the landscape features of their designs and how they enliven the spaces between homes is an element of the BoKlok ethos that JTP will be sure to emulate and incorporate into future layout designs and the development of the BoKlok product for the UK market, alongside several other design innovations showcased in Sweden.