Go back

Located just below the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden, the city of Skellefteå has a long tradition of timber architecture that inspired our design for the creation of a new home for the arts, stage performances and literature. Chosen over 55 entries from ten countries, our winning proposal “Sida vid sida” (i.e. ”Side-by-side”) is a wood framed high-rise with a completion date in 2019. “Västerbottensteatern” (the county theatre of Västerbotten), the Anna Nordlander Museum, Skellefteå’s art gallery (“Konsthall”), the City Library and a new hotel comprise the programme.

The region’s forest industry and construction know-how play an important role in the project, but the recent developments in engineered timber technology allow for the spectacular possibilities not previously available. Collaboration with the Norwegian structural engineers, Florian Kosche, led to the development of two different hybrid construction systems – one for the cultural centre and one for its sister structure, the hotel.

Construction of the cultural centre is composed of a stack of prefabricated timber modules reinforced by concrete slabs. A hybrid of glue-laminated timber and steel construction will allow for a flexible, open-plan space, able to host all of the different facilities. The venue has other design elements which continue the theme of flexibility of use, such as retractable walls for rooms to be expanded or divided so as to better serve the function at hand – from an exhibition to a large congress.

A cultural centre in Skellefteå just has to be built with wood! We’re paying homage to the region’s rich tradition and we’re hoping to collaborate with the local timber industry. Together we will create a beautiful venue, open for everyone, which will both have a contemporary expression and age with grace. – Oskar Norelius, Lead Architect at White

The glass façade wrapping the building will reflect the sky and, at the same time, reveal the interior’s spectacular exposed wood-framed ceiling, which is an important detail guiding visitors throughout the venue. The centre is designed to endure all weathers with an efficient energy consumption record and will have a green roof, contributing to thermal insulation, noise blocking, biodiversity and rain water absorption.

The hotel tower comprises a stack of prefabricated timber modules reinforced by concrete slabs, providing the building a high-rise status while the structural glazing provides the hotel rooms views that will stretch for miles.

We want to attract visitors not only for the arts but also to witness the behind-the-scenes work. People passing by will be able to see, from the streets, how a new exhibition is being built or how a stage set is coming along. – Robert Schmitz, Lead Architect at White

With a stage located in the middle of the cultural centre and with different functions visible from the outside, the centre will breathe new life into the city. The ground floor will be open with several entrances as a way to contribute to a dynamic city centre.

The winning proposal foresees bicycle and pedestrian ways connecting different areas of Skellefteå to the new travel centre. On the waters of the Skellefte River (which passes through the city), a stage is proposed as a satellite scene to the cultural centre.

Skellefteå Cultural Centre

  • Client: Skellefteå kommun
  • Project Start/End: 2015
  • City: Skellefteå
  • Photographer/Illustrator: White View

Team

  • Oskar Norelius
  • Robert Schmitz
  • Axel Bodros Wolgers
  • Anders Johnsson
  • Björn Vestlund
  • Marta Bohlmark
  • Karl Tyrväinen
  • Katharina Björlin Wiklund
  • Robert Niziolek
  • Sarah Dahman Meyersson

Similar Projects