Carl Gustav Swensson Memorial in Žilina

Marek Sobola, CEO of Servare et Manere,has initiated historical research and international cooperation which led to a significant discovery that sheds light on the history of architecture in Žilina, the fourth largest city in Slovakia. This particularly interesting discovery was the fact that the author of landscaping around the former Cloth Processing Factory in Žilina – Silleiner Fabriken Adolf Löw & Sohn was Carl Gustav Swensson (June 15, 1861 – April 13, 1910). This Swedish landscape architect (born as Svensson, changed his surname to Swensson after arriving in Würzburg, Germany in 1881) worked mainly in the countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. In today’s Slovakia, in 1891, he implemented a project for a park around the Cloth Processing Factory – Silleiner Fabriken Adolf Löw & Sohn. To this day, old solitary trees from the original park concept can be identified in the area around the former factory, which at that time was one of the most important parks in the city not only in terms of area, but also in the use of the assortment of trees and shrubs. Unfortunately, up to date, only a fragment of this original and historically important park has been preserved. Only now we do appreciate the real significance of Swensson’s work and his contribution to the European garden and landscape architecture. Swensson can be assessed as an important landscape architect with international presence; he was truly a Paneuropean architect. However, he has received an appropriate attention only in recent years. In 2000, a memorial plaque was unveiled to him in Bled, Slovenia. In 2021, the City Council of Žilina named one of its parks as Carl Gustav Swensson Park (in Slovak: Park Carla Gustava Swenssona) upon the initiative of Sevare et Manere.

Our association has received an official mandate from the Mayor and the City Council of Žilina to process the documentation and implement the memorial in honour of Carl Gustav Swensson. We plan to unveil the monument in September this year, 2021, hopefully with participation of the public. Of course, also your personal participation would be a great honour for us. The whole project of the memorial of a prominent Swedish landscape architect has several unique aspects. In 2021, we will commemorate Swensson’s birth 160 years ago and 130 years since the construction of the park near the former Cloth Processing Factory in Žilina. This is the only documented and the only preserved work of this architect in the whole territory of Slovakia. The Carl Gustav Swensson Memorial will be situated in the area of the newly created Carl Gustav Swensson Park. It is the first public park named after a Swedish citizen in Slovakia and it is the first park named after Swensson in Europe. The Swensson Memorial will combine local historical craft, modern sculptural techniques and the architecture of the monument will be a synthesis of modern art and green architecture. The monument will also include planting of three birch trees in the variety called ‘Dalecarlica’ (Ornäsbjörk) – the Swedish national tree.