Sara Cultural Centre wins bronze in the International Design Awards 2021

Housing venues for arts, performance, and literature as well as a hotel, Sara Cultural Centre in Skellefteå is one of the world’s tallest timber buildings to date. The carbon-negative building has been recognised worldwide for being a beacon of sustainable design. Now the project receives a bronze medal in the International Design Awards 2021.

Sara Cultural Centre was inaugurated in September 2021 and standing at 75-metres tall, the building is one of the world’s tallest timber towers and a new typology for creativity in Skellefteå. The building has attracted a lot of attention worldwide and was selected as number one when The Guardian’s critics ranked the best architecture of 2021.

The International Design Awards (IDA) exists to recognise, celebrate, and promote exceptional design visionaries and discover emerging talent in Architecture, Interior, Product, Graphic and Fashion Design worldwide. Sara Cultural Centre won bronze in the architecture category Sustainable Living/Green.

We are so happy and honoured to be awarded a medal in the International Design Awards 2021 in Los Angeles. Knowing there was so many great projects from all over the world in the competition, it almost feels unreal.
Oskar Norelius and Robert Schmitz, lead architects, White Arkitekter

By bringing back timber as a material in the urban fabric, Sara acknowledges Skellefteå’s historic timber tradition and local timber industry. It also promotes it by sourcing from sustainable forests located within an approximately 100 kilometres radius from the building site and processing in a sawmill approximately 50 kilometres from the site.

The building is realised with timber as a massive, structural material, not a surface layer on top of something else just for show. Timber elements become part of the architectural expression making them visible and readable, triggering an interest in how the building is assembled. Exposed natural wood will age over time while the timber core structure of the high-rise is visible through a double-skin facade reflecting the Nordic sky. Sara comprises approximately 30,000 square meters and is the first timber building in the world to reach 20 stories.

Contact Person

Robert Schmitz

Robert Schmitz

Architect, Office management


+46 8 402 26 52

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