Diploma 2017:"WALLED TREASURES - Courtyard space in Stockholm as a future resource for new public meeting places and an increased quality of life for residents" by Per Jansson

Tutors: Anders Rubing (APP, Trudi Jaeger (DAV), Harald Røstvik (sustainability), Sigurdur Gunnarson (TTA)


The pressure on courtyard space is increasing in Stockholm.

In 20 years, a quarter of the Swedish population will live in the capital region and in 30 years; the county’s population will have increased by 700,000 people.

In 2012, a radical suggestion of filling a large number of courtyards with skyscrapers was proposed to display how useful the spaces could be in terms of housing densification. Another fact is that a large number of courtyards in Stockholm are neglected in their use and have lost much of their former relevance as a meeting space with daily activity.

The common space where residents met while hanging laundry or when visiting the outdoors toilet is since long gone.

Enclosed city blocks with courtyards are the most sought after housing typology in Stockholm and in the extension, a vital part of Sweden’s economy to strengthen in a sustainable way. Densifying with permanent housing in residential courtyards would change the community’s relationship to the space and generate less common space per person. The shared space in residential courtyards is important to retain and not to shrink for residents as it posses a differing atmosphere from the street that is vital when living in an urban environment.

All courtyard spaces are however not of residential character in Stockholm. There are a substantial amount of spaces containing parking lots and neglected backyard space connected to offices and commercial activity, This typology of space can be more suitable for adaption to new public meeting places, that Stockholm will be in need of in the coming years.

Based on these premises and with the courtyard as a tool for meetings again, the project proposes interventions in two courtyards with a differing context and spatial quality. 

           1 The courtyard as a strengthened community space
           2 The courtyard as a public meeting space


Proposal 1 – The strengthened community space

This proposal deals with a courtyard space that is relatively un-programmed and that are in need of gathering functions.

The project proposes new community add-ons that can be space consuming in the existing apartments and that could rather take place in the common yard. The new plan encourage meetings between neighbours and suggest new interventions that will increase the quality of life and make the courtyard relevant again as a common meeting space. A closer connected community, where the chance of knowing your neighbours is higher than in the present situation. With a proud community and common functions, residents are more likely to invite other citizens to meet.


The Visiting space

Working from home

Recreational space

Yard laundry station

The farming hub

The library tower with yard balconies


Proposal 2 – The Public Non-commercial Park

In a commercial walking district at the backdrop of Östermalms food

market hall, a courtyard space today used as a parking lot for offices is transformed to a public meeting space with non-commercial qualities.

The park is a low threshold meeting space constructed from a light grid structure that sustains popular programs of the summer in a central location.



Open floor - outdoor gym and the peoples market

The evening sun wall with lendable balconies

Play net

Tea floor

Picnic net

Hanging conversation chairs

Plug in cinema


The new public meeting place is also offering a new public connection to Östermalms food market hall and connections from nearby residential yards.

The two proposals aim to show a diverse strategy and to inspire neighbourhoods to reassess their own walled common space for the future. The more courtyards with proud communities around them that will exist in future Stockholm, the richer the city will feel, and invitations between these common spaces will increase.

Let’s make Stockholm feel like a larger city, with the walled treasures!


The map of experiences shows visited and investigated courtyard spaces in Stockholm.  The photo book contains 43 of the visited neighbourhoods where colour light and atmosphere of the courtyards has been in focus.


Perspective drawing of the strengthened community courtyard. The courtyard as a tool for meetings again.




Proposal 2 – The public non-commercial park. Axonometric and photos of 1:100 model


The exhibition space is inspired by courtyard spaces. A vertical frame from floor to ceiling marks the border of the exhibition, partly filled with works of the project, partly open. The centre of the exhibition is open and displays the works horizontally.