Östra Sala Backe

Urban area


Just outside Uppsala, the new neighbourhood of Östra Sala Backe is being developed, with a focus on creating a distinct identity and social sustainability. The flagship building in the first phase of the new district is a 6,000m2 multi-functional building constructed using prefabricated wooden modules. The building is designed for 24 hour use, housing 72 residential elderly care units, a kindergarten, café and restaurant, and youth social housing. All of the end user groups were directly involved in the design phase, and the flexibility of the space was seen to be a key feature, as the space can easily be adapted in the future to meet changing demand.

The developers, Svenska Vårdfastigheter, have begun to look to renewable construction materials, as part of their vision for buildings that contribute to a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future. With Uppsala Municipality as the client, budgets had to be kept tight, but the lifecycle approach and flexible nature of the project presented long-term benefits from building in wood, and the prefabricated and modular aspects allowed construction to be completed quickly and quietly with minimal impact on the surrounding area. For the residents, in their golden years, using wood helps to create a natural feel and healthy indoor climate, combined with a roof garden that promotes urban biodiversity and protects against climate-induced flash flooding.

Photo credits: Scott Rasmusson Källander.




Svenska Vårdfastigheter have been working for some time to design high-quality, low-energy buildings, but at Östra Sala Backe, wooden construction is taking the firms sustainability ambitions to the next level.



The use of modular, prefabricated units allowed for a level of bespoke customization to the end-users needs, whilst maintaining flexibility to change the space’s use in the future.

Social and local

Social and Local

With elderly care and kindergarten under one roof, the building’s users spend much time indoors, so using wood helps to create a more positive and healthy indoor environment.

City of Uppsala
Multiple architects
Project period
2015 - app. 2025

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