The design is an homage to the region’s rich timber tradition that we hope to take forward with the local timber industry. Together, we can create a beautiful civic centre for all; a contemporary expression that ages with grace.
Oskar Norelius, Project Architect
The regional forest industry and construction knowledge play an important role in the project and is complemented by recent developments in engineered timber (CLT) technology. The advancement of research in engineered timber has unleashed a world of previously unimagined design possibilities. Collaborating with structural engineers Florian Kosche, two different hybrid construction systems have been developed; one for the cultural centre and one for its sibling structure, the hotel.
Skellefteå Cultural Centre is composed of a stack of prefabricated timber modules, reinforced by concrete slabs. A hybrid of glue-laminated timber and steel construction enable a flexible, open-plan space that can host a range of activities and functions within. Flexibility of use guarantees the building’s long-term sustainability by allowing it to adapt to future demands. Other solutions, such as retractable walls to open up or divide a space depending on a specific event or exhibition need, add to this core adaptability.
The hotel occupies the sixteen-storey tower and is constructed in a similar concrete-reinforced, modular timber stack. However, structural glazing allows for greater height, as well as offering dramatic views that stretch for miles over the city.
We want people to witness the amount of creativity that occurs behind-the-scenes. From the street, people passing by will be able to see how a new exhibition is being built, or how a stage set is coming along.
Robert Schmitz, Lead Architect, White
The glass façade wrapping the building reflects the sky while revealing the spectacular exposed timber-framed ceiling inside. This ceiling is a recurring motif that guides visitors through the venue. The wood construction is designed to endure Skellefteå’s harsh weather conditions, while also remaining energy efficient. The green roof contributes to thermal insulation, as well as absorbing noise pollution, enhancing biodiversity and delaying rain water run-off.
A celebration of making
Skellefteå Cultural Centre uniquely celebrates the craft behind the creative process. Open layouts combined with generous glazing reveal the ingenuity and skill involved in set-building and exhibition installation to visitors inside the building, as well as passers-by outdoors. At the heart of the centre lies a stage, its productions visible to the outside world. Similarly, exhibitions can be programmed at the entrances, inviting non-traditional gallery goers into the centre.