Öresjö Recreational Area, Trollhätten, Sweden

Courtesy of Trollhättans Stad, Kultur- och fritidsförvaltningen

Architect

MARELD landskapsarkitekter

Type of Area

Natural lake

Land/water interaction

Riprap
Sandy beach
Pier

Built Environment Types

Low built
High green

Scale of Impact

District/ neighbourhood
City

Intervention Scale (Spatial)

Linear development – multiple interventions

Project Types

Lakefront development
Outdoor Recreation

Urban/ Rural

Sub-urban area

Visibility and Openness

Partly enclosed
Partly contained

Accessibility For All

Öresjö is a year-round recreational area. The design was intended to protect everyone’s access to the beach and bathing area and link the different areas of the site together. It also aimed to raise the standards of the amenities without compromising the views over the lake. 

The backdrop of large oaks covers the slope behind the largest semi-circular beach area, which provides ample space for people. The beach is framed by two curved boardwalks providing wheelchair access and yet kind to bare feet. The boardwalk also serves as a boundary between the grass and sand; the calm and active areas. 

The other boardwalk, with railings and mesh protection, rises gradually between the oak trees to offer good views over the beach and shaded seating areas. It then passes under a lookout platform and ends at an ice cream stand.

The upgraded facilities, such as toilets, food stands, seating areas, picnic tables and playgrounds, enhance the function and opportunity for activities for the disabled, young families, dog walkers and canoeists. The high-backed wooden seating that screens the parking area and the road and a wooden observation deck overlooking the beach, provide views over the area. 

The entrance is not very welcoming and lacks a landmark and defined entrance. However, the lake is visible providing a sense of place. A white concrete step at the water’s edge allows people to sit and go down for a swim. Different terraces are connected by ramps. 

Stone gabion walls create small sunbathing areas and divide the functional areas creating definition to the spaces. The simple forms of the semi-circular beach area, boardwalks and stone walls creates a tension between the wild nature and the constructed elements, whilst adding functionality within a limited space. The trees, the beach and views towards the water were therefore protected and enhanced. 

Perception and Meaning

Sense of place
Place attachment
Legibility
Accessibility

Health and Wellbeing

Increased physical activities
Place affordance
Restorativeness

Increases socialisation
Aesthetic experience

Interaction with Water

Visual
Tactile – fully in water

As the ratings show, the site was designed for accessibility and therefore this rates highly. The front entrance and the screening reduces the site visibility but this does not compromise the visibility of the water from the site itself. The semi-circular designed boardwalk and the pathway that gently rises between the trees enhances the site circulation by providing comfortable pathways for all users. 

Cultural heritage is rated low, since little is present on the site, but the main focus was on providing a range of modern and accessible facilities with access to the water, so this is understandable. The site is well-lit at night increasing the potential use of the space and enhancing feelings of safety. Conserving the trees at the edge of the lake and maintaining the grassy areas as a separate quiet zone with seating, allows space for contact with nature and contemplation of the views over the lake. 

Accessibility for swimming and canoeing for all users were part of the remit of the site and this is reflected in the ratings. The site has an excellent land-water connectivity by providing a boardwalk that leads to the water’s edge from the car park and a variety of ways of reaching the water, steps and beach areas. Physical activities are also encouraged and intentional design of quiet, calm areas separated from the more active areas ensures that there is space for sports as well as peace and relaxation.