Västerås’ old industrial harbour is being transformed into a new neighbourhood with nature at its heart. It is therefore fitting that Sweden’s tallest wooden-framed building (as of 2018), Kajstaden, sits in the entrance to the new development. All load-bearing elements of Kajstaden – its walls, floors, beams, and roof – are constructed from locally-sourced CLT, using 3m tall panels that reduce the need for cutting on site, and allow for all nine storeys to have high ceilings, creating spacious and light-filled living spaces. Being a project of firsts, it is also the developers first foray into wooden construction, but is now being replicated across Sweden.
Using CLT in such an innovative way did introduce some extra costs for the developers, however these costs were more than offset by the significantly shorter construction time, which reduced the need for capital and loans at the construction stage. Thanks to the use of so much locally sourced wood, Kajstaden’s material emissions are 44% lower than a concrete equivalent. Taking a full lifecycle approach, the components are designed to be reused in simpler products at the end of the building’s life before eventually being recycled for bioenergy. This long-sighted view has led to a flexible design, with the ground floor easily convertible to commercial space in the future, as needs in the neighbourhood change.
Photo credits: C. F. Møller Architects.