Naturum Kosterhavet

Naturum Kosterhavet

Naturum Kosterhavet is a contemporary reinvention of the marine vernacular; a visitor centre where guests can study sealife up-close in the aquarium, or use as a base to explore the beaches and snorkel amidst Sweden’s only coral reef. Kosterhavet National Park was inaugurated in 2009 as Sweden’s first marine reserve.

A storytelling building

Kosterhavet visitor centre houses exhibition areas that tell the story of the national park, alongside lecture theatres and offices for administrative staff. There is also a library, interactive aquarium and a water laboratory where visitors can make their own discoveries. Great care was taken to ensure that the visitor centre fits in with the small-scale, coastal buildings of the fishing village of Ekenäs.

Client: Länsstyrelsen i Västra Götaland, Naturvårdsverket 
Sydkoster, Sweden
Completed 2012
650 sqm GFA
Visuals: Åke E:son Lindman

Surrounded by crystal clear sea and the enchanting Koster light, the rocky, car-free isles are an inspiration for many artists.

The visitor centre stands by the water’s edge on filled and reclaimed ground. Care was taken to not disrupt the existing quayside, meaning that foundations were pile-driven to solid rock. The building’s irregular shape was determined by site constraints, but also gave rise to the sculptural nature of the building. By arranging six gables seawards and five facing inland, the irregular zig-zag of the rooflines becomes a contemporary interpretation of the region’s boathouses. Smooth timber-panels dyed Falun red clads the façades and roof, giving the visitor centre a uniform volume and its own personality in contrast with the older buildings of the archipelago.

A green building

Kosterhavet visitor centre meets high demands relating to energy consumption, indoor environment and healthy construction materials. Constructed mainly from forestry-certified wood and running solely on renewable energy, the building embodies exceptionally low carbon. Water is supplied from a nearby osmosis unit, ventilation is climate-responsive, and geothermal heating is employed throughout.

The pleated roof form also shapes the interiors. Inside, the geometric contours are clad with pale white timber; maximising daylight and creating exhibition spaces where the elusive world beneath the surface of the water can be interpreted and explored by all.

Kosterhavet visitor centre is not just a tourist attraction, but a civic focal point; it was essential that the local community took ownership of the project as it developed. An efficient, creative co-design process was implemented, giving residents and local authorities an opportunity for direct involvement that cultivated a feeling of close connection to their new visitor centre.

Contact & Team

Magnus Bunner

Magnus Bunner


+46 721 58 31 06

Magnus Bunner


Mattias Lind


Magnus Nellström

Building engineer

Mathias Nilsson

Building engineer

Anna Graaf


Anders Åkeflo

Karin Sjödin

Andreas Laessker

Ulla Antonsson

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