Pomeroy Studio Gavlegardarna

While the Lakerol pastille can be found in countries all over the world today, the very first boxes were produced and sold in the Swedish city of Gavle, north of Stockholm, when Swedish wholesaler Adolf Ahlgren began flavouring mixtures of menthol, liquorice and gum arabic back in 1909.

More than a century later, Singapore-based sustainable design firm, Pomeroy Studio, is helping to turn the historic Lakerol candy factory in Gavle into an environmentally friendly and socially inclusive public housing project.

The studio was selected by Swedish public housing company Gavlegardarna to restore the brick factory into a hub comprising retail, food and beverage outlets, commercial offices and a hotel, as well as construct two new residential buildings which will flank the former factory compound.

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The seven-storey residential block will comprise 54 apartments, while the 15-storey residential block has 67, with sizes ranging from studios to four-room flats.

According to Professor Jason Pomeroy, 45, architect and founder of Pomeroy Studio, the variety of apartment types available for lease is meant to promote inter-generational bonding and social inclusion.

Prof Pomeroy, who teaches classes on the sustainable built environment at the University of Cambridge, University of Nottingham, James Cook University Singapore and King Saud University, says the glazed atrium of the seven-storey block and orangery atop the 15-storey one are also designated as recreational spaces for residents to meet and socialise with one another.

“Families, young couples, singles and retirees can all benefit from being one another’s neighbours and spending time together in shared spaces,” Prof Pomeroy tells The Straits Times at Pomeroy Studio.

Both residential buildings will be carbon-negative, which means they will be able to generate more energy than they consume. This is achieved through solar panels embedded on the atrium facade and roof of the seven-storey block, while the taller block has solar panels and wind turbines on its roof.

Renowned for his innovative and sustainable architecture, Prof Pomeroy has designed one of the first carbon-negative homes in Singapore, the B House in Bukit Timah.

The Gavle residential development will also house lush urban greenery throughout its compound, from its rooftop terraces to the bee garden overlooking the plaza area.

Most of the 121 apartments will also be fitted with a winter garden, a glass-covered balcony space where residents can cultivate plants or enjoy city views without the wind chill that usually deters Swedes from going outdoors during cold winter months.

The windows of the balcony can also slide open so warmth and sunlight can enter the apartment when temperatures are higher.

Currently, the Lakerol factory site is being cleared for groundwork and construction is set to begin next year.

“We hope to be able to tell the story of the Lakerol factory’s past and Gavle’s rich heritage by thoughtfully repurposing this industrial compound into a vibrant and environmentally resilient residential hub for present and future generations,” says Prof Pomeroy.

This article was originally published in The Straits Times.

(Related: Meet the multifaceted Jason Pomeroy, eco-architect, TV host, professor and author)