White’s work with timber gets recognition during Archtober

In northern Sweden, Skellefteå one of the world’s tallest timber buildings is coming alive. The 20 stories tall Sara Cultural Centre will be the city’s new landmark, and the spectacular timber building will now be showcased during Archtober in New York.

With a vision to only design carbon-neutral architecture by 2030, White is constantly finding new ways to build more sustainable, especially through the research program White Research Lab. One of the key aspects to a more sustainable industry is using the right material, and for that purpose timber is the obvious choice. A material that White is trying to use as often as possible in its architecture.

When the competition to design the building was announced in 2015, there was nothing in the program that mentioned timber. But we saw the potential to design a high-rise timber building and wanted to break new ground.
Robert Schmitz, lead architect, White Arkitekter

During the exhibition Woodlife Sweden: Meet the architect, at the yearly architecture month Archtober, the lead architects behind Sara Cultural Centre, Robert Schmitz and Oskar Norelius will show a movie made by the Swedish Institute and Architects Sweden where the two architects discuss the project and the benefits and challenges working with timber. They will also share more in depth insight on the project, and answer questions.


– It’s an honour to present this unique project to the world during Archtober. The cooperation within the project has been fantastic, where all of us work towards the same goal, without always having all the answer to the questions. We share knowledge and learn a lot during the journey, says Robert.

The lead architects highlight the immense potential of building with timber, but also notes that more knowledge needs to be gained for the whole industry to start using timber more frequently. This is why complex timber projects just as Sara Cultural Centre is so important.

We are still in a phase of knowledge acquisition, but we see that attitudes within the industry has changed during the time we built Sara.
Oskar Norelius, lead architect, White Arkitekter

– It’s projects like this, where innovation and creativity are of the essence, that drives change and development. Timber is the way to go for a more sustainable future and hopefully buildings like Sara makes more architects and constructors realise that timber is the way to go even when it comes to bigger and more complex projects, says Oskar.


The project will be presented at Woodlife Sweden on the 22nd of October at 14.00-15.00 CET. Sign up here to watch the conversation.

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