The Gamlestaden Travel Centre in Gothenburg’s Old Town is located on a site where a humble hot dog stand used to serve its wares to hungry passers-by in all weather and seasons. The hot dog stand was an important meeting point and when the new structure was conceived, the idea of keeping the location as a meeting place remained. The vision was, in part, to create an attractive transport hub and a gateway to northeast Gothenburg, however it was also deemed important for it to become a well-integrated part of the rest of the surrounding city life. The vision for the building was that it would integrate well with its historic surroundings.
The project started in 2012 and was one of the largest urban development projects in Gothenburg since the 1960s. The client, Västtrafik, enlisted Sweco's proficiency in design and urban analysis, to find the right functional solutions for the complex situation. From this initial contact, a close collaboration between Västtrafik, Gothenburg City Planning Office and Sweco began.
The history within the surrounds of Gothenburg’s Old Town, Gamlestaden in Swedish, had great impact on the choice of materials for this project. While inspiration is taken from the industrial era, the architecture has been given a modern touch, as the location of the buildings was influenced by their specific modern relationships with the sun. Sustainability has been key to the design process and is reflected in the careful choices of material and energy-efficient solutions. An example of this can be seen in the double-skinned facade system which effectively takes care of the exterior sun protection requirements.
The taller building makes Gamlestaden Travel Centre a landmark that can be seen from afar, while its lower structures embrace the square and welcome travellers and visitors with a human scale. This small scale makes the square feel alive when only populated by a few people. The contrast between the parts of the building, is also highlighted by the simplicity of the tall building’s screen printed façade when juxtaposed against the smaller building’s weathering plate-steel cladding.
The character of the centre changes from day to night. The more homogeneous facade of the taller structure during the day, transforms in the evening into beautiful strips of windows with variations of light reflecting the functions and activities housed within its structure, while the smaller building metamorphoses into a structure reminiscent of a warm lantern.
Various Sweco experts have been involved in the project, such as architects, designers, landscape architects, lighting designers and civil engineers.