Skellefteå Cultural Centre

Shortlisted in the category Best Futura Project in the prestigious MIPIM Awards. Housing venues for arts, performance and literature as well as a hotel, the cultural centre is one of the world's tallest timber buildings to date.

A new home for culture

Located just below the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden, Skellefteå has a long tradition of timber building; this was the primary inspiration behind the international competition winning design for the city’s new cultural centre.

 

The proposal was named Sida vid sida – Side-by-side; a timber-frame tower complex that placed art, performance and literary organisations alongside each other in a spectacular setting. Skellefteå Cultural Centre will be a new home for the Västerbotten Regional Theatre, Anna Nordlander Museum, Skellefteå Art Gallery, as well as the City Library. The complex will also contain a new hotel to accommodate the growing numbers of tourists to the city, as well as to provide a source of revenue for the local authority.

A model for sustainable design and construction where all forms of culture live side-by-side.

Client:  Skellefteå Municipality
Location: Skellefteå, Sweden
Status: Completion expected 2021
Area: Approx. 25,000 sqm
Visuals: White View, Luxigon

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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

Timber innovation

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.

The high rise, which houses the hotel, is constructed of premanufactured modules in cross-laminated timber (CLT), stacked between two elevator cores. Thanks to the placement and design of the cores, they can be entirely made from CLT. Standing 69 metres tall, the 19-storey hotel offers dramatic views that stretch for miles over the city from one of the world’s highest timber framed buildings with glue-laminated timber (GLT) pillars and beams.

 

The hotel is located in the 19-storey tower, which is made up of prefabricated timber modules with a core of cross laminated timber. The glazed façade offers dramatic views that stretch for miles over the city

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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, Project Architect

In the lower part of the complex, the cultural centre, the floors are made from a HBV-system (Holz-Beton-Verbund). This hybrid of concrete and timber redistributes loads from the high rise and enhances structural stability, while also improving acoustics between floors.

 

The characteristic trusses above the grand foyers are composed of a GLT and steel hybrid that enables 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.

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.

White Wood

As architects, we have a responsibility to take action against climate change. White Arkitekter has set an ambitious target to design 30 projects with a zero-carbon footprint by 2019. To that end, the practice has strengthened research and design skills that focus on timber technologies. As wood is a renewable resource; it is a construction material that embodies a low environmental impact. In addition, its aesthetic qualities contribute to a healthy, high quality environment for all; from workers on site, to end users.

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.

Skellefteå cultural centre is shortlisted in the category Best Futura Project in the prestigious MIPIM Awards 2018.

Contact & Team

Robert Schmitz

Robert Schmitz

Office management

Architect

Stockholm

[email protected]

+46 8 402 26 52

Oskar Norelius
Björn Norén
Ulrika Wallin
Pontus Stigeborn
Marianne Rutberg
Maria Orvesten
Patrik Buchinger
Marte Noedtvedt Skjaeggestad
Jens Hansson
Andreas Ivarsson
Pernilla Svedberg
Johan Björkholm
Sam Keshavarz
Sarah Dahman Meyersson
Anton Magnusson
Christoffer Sundberg
Elin Rooth
Gustav Söderberg Röstlund
Fredrik Källström
Jesper Källgren
Gunnar Hidemark
Lisa Lee Källman
Clara Fraenkel
Amanda Ersson
Erik Falkenström
Mehdi Bahrami
Katharina Björlin Wiklund
Robert Niziolek
Mats Selin
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