Rushing water in a cultural environment

Project: Forsåker

Project category: Bridges & civil structures

Client: Mölndal Municipality

Year: 2023

Close to central Mölndal, just south of Gothenburg, a new district is emerging at the centre of a cultural heritage factory environment. New homes, schools, pre-schools, offices and business premises are being built in the area. The Forsåker project has attracted a lot of attention, and has for example been voted Sweden’s hottest building project several years in a row due to its location and design. The Mölndal River runs right through the area – creating not only a beautiful environment, but also a complicated project to plan and design.

The project in brief


Complicated project planning

A new district is being built on a site where a paper mill has stood since the 1650s. The relics of the old buildings make it hard to know what is in the ground ahead of excavation.


Prestigious in a historic area

One of Mölndal’s biggest infrastructure investments in years, where much-needed new homes and services need to coexist older buildings and structures.


Rushing water in a soon-defunct concrete furrow

A living watercourse is to be restored and presents major technical challenges. The water also makes the project sensitive to the weather and the seasons.

New, old and celebrated

Inhouse Tech was commissioned to design and plan the replacement of the existing, ageing concrete furrow for the watercourse, and two bypass pipes are also being dug into the ground. These will initially divert the water while the furrow is being cast, and will in future lead water to a planned hydro power plant further downstream. Dealing with rushing water like this presents a number of challenges:

I usually compare it to building a motorway or railway track. Road traffic can be diverted, and if absolutely necessary trains can be stopped – but with water it’s trickier. Water flows when it flows, whether you like it or not.
Max Fredriksson, Business Manager Bridges & Civil Structures, Inhouse Tech

Uneven water flows are a challenge when it comes to project planning. Working with sensitive details during the summer months only solves the problem to an extent, since it is impossible to plan for unexpected heavy rainfall. 

Experience and flexibility

The design planning is complicated by the fact that the land contains lumber and old building remains from the old mills. In this, a flexible working method has been absolutely crucial to make progress.

It’s challenging in that you always have to remain flexible. It’s hard to plan resources when the parameters are constantly changing. For example, when a problem arises, you might suddenly find that two structural designers are not enough for a particular task.
Max Fredriksson

The fact that the district is being built in a cultural heritage conservation environment also presents challenges. Once again the water is a factor: many of the old buildings are next to the river, and it is hard to know what their load-bearing capacity is. The old industrial operations have also left traces of toxins in the ground, which means great care must be taken to protect the Mölndal River from pollution when the ground is prepared.

Our flexible working model and structural design expertise means we contribute strongly to the project’s efficiency. And of course, our experience from this assignment also enhances our competence for future water construction projects.

Learnings from the project

I have learnt a lot from the challenges of working with running water in a cultural heritage environment. How to stay flexible when faced with all these uncertainties.

Max Fredriksson
Business Manager, Inhouse Tech