Temporary market hall becomes a sports hall in Sweden’s largest reuse project

The construction industry must focus more on circular and sustainable construction. This is the opinion of Johan Wuollet, Project Manager at Wallenstam. The company completed Sweden’s largest reuse project in 2022 by transporting the Östermalmshallen market hall from Stockholm, 500 kilometres southwest to Mölnlycke, just outside Gothenburg. There, the wooden building was converted into a padel hall with an accompanying restaurant. This project is a great example of the suitability of Kerto® LVL elements for demounting and reuse in construction.
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  • Kerto LVL, Offsite construction, Reusable

Temporary building gets a new life

Wallenstam is a Swedish real estate company with one million square metres of rental property. The company develops, constructs and manages facilities for sustainable housing and business in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Uppsala. When the renovation of the grand Östermalmshallen began in 2016, a temporary building was erected to enable businesses to continue their operations. The temporary market hall was built with wood elements using materials such as Metsä Wood’s Kerto LVL. After the renovation, Wallenstam purchased the building to find a new purpose for it.

“This reuse project is one of a kind in Sweden. We disassembled a fully functioning market hall in Stockholm, moved it to a new location 500 kilometres away and reassembled the building to fulfil its new purpose as a padel hall. It really is unique,” says Johan Wuollet, project manager for Wallenstam.

The construction industry must focus on sustainability

Launched in early 2021, the project was completed in the spring of 2022 with the inauguration of the padel hall in Mölnlycke. The wooden building was designed in the first place to fulfil different purposes and to be portable. Circular and sustainable construction is in line with Wallenstam’s vision for the future.

“This has been a sustainability project rather than an economic project for Wallenstam and a learning journey to gain more experience on how to reuse a large building. The construction industry must focus on sustainability and circular construction. Wood material is in line with this goal, and whether we use wood alone or in combination with other materials, I believe it will play an increasingly important role in future construction projects,” says Wuollet.

In the long term, Johan Wuollet believes that it will become an industry requirement that buildings can be disassembled or flexibly adapted to different purposes, because the construction industry is currently responsible for a large share of climate impacts.

“Much of what is constructed today is discarded way too soon or because it cannot be adapted to new uses. Instead of demolishing buildings, we should reuse every possible product in them – or the entire building, as was done in this case,” he says.

Kerto makes reuse processes easier

The design of the building is based on prefabricated elements. The roof structure consists of Kerto LVL beams laid out in a grid-like pattern, making for a stronger structure and smaller material consumption, while also giving an open feel. Material-efficient Kerto LVL beams also made the hall’s disassembly, interim storage and assembly easier, as everything fit together precisely and nothing needed to be added to the roof beam structure, for example.

“It was very smooth working with Kerto beams during disassembly. The same entrepreneurs that constructed the building first disassembled it and then reassembled it in the new location. The material withstood the entire process very well, and we were able to move and adapt everything to the new purpose,” says Wuollet.

Östermalmshallen will have ripple effects

Wuollet calls the project a living document, and since it was the first of its kind, there were no guidelines to follow. He believes it will have ripple effects.

“This sustainability project has been a learning experience. I believe we will see more wooden structures in the future, and we now enjoy conditions altogether different from those 20–30 years ago. But all this requires competence, and I think the whole construction industry has only just begun the journey,” says Johan Wuollet.

The 2,000-square-metre hall has been nominated for and won awards for its design. The project has also captured the attention of RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, which is involved in Swedish research promoting sustainable growth.

“The entire construction industry must move towards sustainability and circularity. In this case, the RISE research group focusing on reuse and circularity wanted to find a good way to design a building for reuse in another location,” says Johan Wuollet.