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Fristad, Borås, Sweden

Magnus Almung & Jan Izikowitz, Tengbom
Fribo, Fristadsbostäder AB, Borås Sweden

Year of Commission
Image credits
Bert Leandersson

Architectural quality and sustainability permeate two rental apartment blocks in solid wood in Fristad, outside Borås in Sweden. The buildings are based on the concept "Wood right through" for the municipal housing company FRIBO. The project demonstrates that a high level of originality, together with solid wood and low energy technologies, does not have to mean high production costs or rents.


Two low-energy buildings with walls, roofs and joists of solid wood and a facade of wood chips stand harmoniously in a copse. The buildings contain 44 high-quality rental apartments where white-stained wood has been used on the inner walls. Wood is a sustainable building material from several viewpoints. It has a low carbon footprint, ages well and can eventually be reused as fuel. Solid wood can also store energy and humidity.


The living experience is heightened by the project’s architectural and build quality. The characteristically-arched buildings are both split into one larger and one smaller block linked by see-through stairwells. The design provides all apartments with large west-facing balconies exposed to the afternoon and evening sun. An open floor plan and large windows make the apartments light and airy.


One of our biggest economic challenges was to develop new technical solutions for dwellings in solid wood, including fire safety and footstep sound insulation, at a cost comparable with an average rental accommodation project. The result represents a significant reference project for Tengbom within sustainable living. It disproves the economic scepticism surrounding wooden buildings and provides a strong argument for similar projects in the future. 


The project was the winner of the Borås Urban Building Prize 2015, which is awarded every third year. 

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