Sara Cultural Centre honoree in Global Vision Awards

By integrating sustainability with beautiful aesthetics, White Arkitekter-designed Sara Cultural Centre has been selected as one of the honorees in Travel + Leisure’s 2022 Global Vision Awards for changing the built environment to the better.

Earlier this year, Sara Cultural Centre in Skellefteå made it onto The Guardian’s list of “The most sustainable holiday ideas for 2022 where we’re dreaming of”. Now, the 20-storey wooden skyscraper has been designated by Global Vision Awards’ esteemed panel as one of four sustainable architecture and infrastructure projects worth planning a trip around.

– With Sara Cultural Centre, we have carefully integrated sustainability into the architecture enabling a sustainable experience for visitors, hotel guests and those working in the building, say Robert Schmitz and Oskar Norelius, Lead Architects at White Arkitekter.

We are very happy to be one of the winners in Global Vision Awards and to be on the same list of honorees as Champs-Élysées undergoing a huge transformation for a more sustainable and healthier future.
Oskar Norelius and Robert Schmitz

Standing at 75-metres tall, Sara Cultural Centre delivers a state-of-the-art cultural venue and hotel that positively contributes to the local community while at the same time being an international showcase for sustainable design and construction. By completely excluding concrete from the load-bearing structure, the project’s carbon footprint has been significantly limited. The timber structure sequesters more than twice as much carbon emissions as the production of materials, transport, and on-site construction. This means that the cultural centre will be carbon-negative* within 50 years and is designed to last for at least 100 years. With built-in flexibility, the premises can be easily adapted for different activities and content to meet future needs.

Travel + Leisure’s annual Global Vision Awards aim to identify and honor companies, individuals, destinations, and organisations taking strides to develop more sustainable and responsible travel products, practices, and experiences. The honorees are not only demonstrating thought leadership and creative problem-solving, but they are also taking actionable, quantifiable steps to protect communities and environments around the world. What’s more, they are inspiring their industry colleagues and travelers to do their part.

Excerpt from the jury's motivation

Skellefteå, Sweden, is home to schools, bridges – even a parking garage – made of wood, and now the burgeoning Arctic Circle city has unveiled one of the tallest timber towers in the world. Designed by the Swedish firm White Arkitekter, Sara Kulturhus was made without the use of cement or steel, constructed almost entirely of timber sourced from trees within 40 miles of the city (all of which have since been replaced).

The 20-story Sara is proof not only of timber’s structural capabilities but also its potential as a green building material. Over its lifetime, the $110 million center is poised to become one of the world’s first carbon-neutral buildings, sequestering carbon and running entirely on renewable resources. The structure also happens to be beautiful. Interiors are a vision of minimalist hygge, with a striking timber-lined theater, museum, library, and conference center, plus the 205-room Wood Hotel, which has three restaurants and a spa.

*Carbon-negative in terms of embodied carbon and operational energy are less than the carbon sequestration in wood. For more information, see the carbon budget based on White Arkitekter’s definition on carbon neutrality.

Contact Person

Robert Schmitz

Robert Schmitz

Architect, Office management


+46 8 402 26 52

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