The inauguration of a:place, Castellum’s unique and public boutique office on Torshamnsgatan, is fast approaching. Castellum also collaborates with other property owners to develop Kista's "Kunskapsstråk" into a welcoming and vibrant campus environment. Street strategies, square development and the activation of unused office space are some of the tools Castellum wants to use to add life and pulse to Kista.
- Kista is already a very good district, but we need to add several new ingredients to create the vibrant and attractive mixed city we are aiming for. Not only more housing and services, but also art and culture, sports opportunities, playgrounds and meeting places, greenery, and more varied architecture, says Business Area Manager Robert de la Motte.
Castellum is one of Sweden’s largest and most sustainable real estate companies. They are also highly involved in Kista's development. In September, they secretly opened their new workplace concept, the boutique office a:place on Torshamnsgatan – a unique and inspiring environment with a large and welcoming entrance floor, which everyone in Kista can visit and use. Castellum also owns several properties along Kista's so-called "kunskapsstråk", with leading universities and vocational education as well as upper secondary schools, primary schools, and preschools as tenants.
- Learning and education for life is offered here. We are working with other property owners to develop Kunskapsstråket (knowledge walkway), which runs straight through central Kista, from Ericsson to Nod. We are on our way, but there is still much left to do to create the welcoming and vibrant campus environment Kista deserves, says Robert.
Vibrant streets and activated office buildings
Kista's historical division into a "residential half" and an "office half" is something that Castellum and the other actors in The Kloud collaboration are working intensively to change, says Victoria Ströby, Castellum's marketing manager in Stockholm:
- Kista has a strong position and incredible potential. The location, the communications, and Kista Galleria with its wide selection. Tech cluster with world-leading innovation companies, research, and education. But the district is too divided, and above all the office area needs more life outside of working hours. Kista Galleria will continue to be the big and prominent hub in Kista, but more places with living entrance floors, service and meeting places are needed for the whole district to flourish.
Kistagången is a good example. Castellum owns the property Kista One on Jan Stenbecks torg, where Kistagången begins and where the Tram will have a stop. On an ordinary weekday, thousands of people pass by here on their way to work or study. Kistagången stretches all the way to the Victoria Tower and along parts of the walkway the pulse is too slow, Victoria thinks:
- Kistagången is Kista's main street, and here a lot will happen in the future. The Hub is up and running and Kista Innovation Park will soon open. But we need more. In addition to finding suitable tenants who can run restaurants, cafés, shops, and other types of service, we as property owners also need to think about how parts of the buildings can come to life in new ways after office hours. It could be art, culture, or association activities that use spaces that are empty during evenings and weekends.
Robert de la Motte and Victoria Ströby
A town needs a square
Another good example of collaborative urban development is the large and unused area outside a:place which today mostly consists of a large parking lot, but that will change, says Robert de la Motte:
- We call it the shared:place and as it looks today, it doesn't match its surroundings. Here is not only our pride a:place, but also the Nordic Forum, where the new, international Marriott hotel opens in the summer, and several other properties. In collaboration with Revelop, Corem, and Atrium Ljungberg, we want to create a vibrant square.
Victoria Ströby agrees and believes that it is precisely this type of urban development that will make Kista flourish:
- More vibrant streets and squares will improve the service and change the whole experience of Kista. Compared to the larger new and redevelopment projects that are planned, streets and squares can also be developed more quickly. Therefore, well-thought-out and joint strategies are a hugely important ingredient in the recipe for the future Kista.
Discovering Kista by running
Every Thursday, Castellum offers its tenants in Kista to run with a professional coach from Löparakademin - the non-profit organization that works for equal health and social inclusion and started here in Kista. There are no demands on speed or endurance, and everyone runs according to their ability and receives coaching tips that suit their own level.
- We started with the Thursday run last spring. Partly to activate our tenants and ourselves, and partly to have fun and get to know each other. But we also want to show the green and natural sides of Kista. There are far too many people who believe that the district only consists of offices, homes, and a mall. But we are also close to fantastic nature and recreation areas, such as Ursvik and Järvafältet, says Robert.
Victoria and Robert are looking forward to Kista's continued development together with the other actors in The Kloud collaboration. Next for Castellum is the official opening of a:place on 26 January.
A:place is created according to the Symbiotic Concept, a holistic approach where Castellum has gathered its knowledge and experience about what makes us thrive and function as people – not just as leaders and employees, but as individuals. Here, is a lot of greenery, natural materials and shapes, yoga, and the opportunity to exercise both indoors and outdoors. A:place also offers a large range of services and smart technology that makes working, meetings, and people’s everyday lives easier.
- "Work-life balance" is often discussed, but we prefer to talk about "life balance". It may sound vague, but it is very professional. When people are happy and healthy, our productivity and creativity increase. Exactly what our employers want us to do when we work. We use the Symbiotic Concept in several properties, but a:place in Kista is the first in Stockholm where we have gone "all in", so it feels really exciting. I really hope that as many people as possible will want to visit a:place - both at the opening and in everyday life, concludes Victoria.