CULTURAL CENTER IN SKELLEFTEÅ
Möjligheternas Hus, or the House of Opportunity in English, is a proposal for a new 22,700m² Culture House in Skellefteå, Sweden. The proposal offers a strong landmark in the heart of the city by enhancing the individual identities of each programmatic element, yet working in harmony to create a unique whole. In addition to the cultural program consisting of large auditorium, library and art hall, the program also included a restaurant, hotel and conference space. The proposal’s ambition was to become Skellefteå’s new living room for inhabitants and visitors. Situated adjacent to the town’s main square, the various programmatic volumes making up the proposal step down in scale as it approaches the square; creating a more human scale nearest the square, while also relating to the scale of the surrounding context. With its prominent, civic site, the proposal’s most important role is to appear open and approachable from all directions, inviting people to take part in the multitude of cultural activities within.
The culture institutions (Västerbottensteatern Theatre, Guest stage, City Library, MAN art hall and Skellefteå Art hall), as well as the hotel are aligned on one side of a long foyer, creating a “cultural street” that extends the city grid, connecting city and culture. The “cultural street” becomes an integrated part of a main pedestrian street that connects the city center in the south, with the future travel center to the north. Due to the multitude of entrances, visitors can find a space of their own, whether spontaneous visit or planned meeting. At night, the activity within will illuminate at both ground level and through the stepped and facetted roof scape, acting as civic and cultural beacon towards the main square; a welcoming and warm reception for those approaching the building.
For the program and design of the building it was highly important that each function would keep its identity within the massing; yet, still accessible from ground level. Thus, allowing culture to be accessible to all and their daily lift – creating a cultural catalyst for city currently lacking this opportunity. The proposed design is a reflection of the scale and atmosphere of Skellefteå. That is, a comfortable daily life, combined with a simple, yet elegant form that originates from its wooden detailing, shaped tilted volumes and glimpses of light emanating through the volumes towards the city.
The functions that don’t demand any daylight, i.e. guest stage and black box, have been placed in the center of the building. This enables a transparent facade towards south, west and north where the most public functions and communication is placed. It also enables efficient loading and separate internal communication along the eastern side of the building. Extra focus has been made on activating the southwest and northwest corners, to open up and provide clear entrances in both directions – connecting through the culture street. The stepped volume relates to the program functions and follows the natural slope of the site downward towards the main square, Möjlighternas Torg. The stepped volume also provides terraces with views towards the city and surrounding landscape, as well as defining each programmatic function when looking towards the building from the south where each function is accentuated with pitched roofs, creating a facetted expression.
Möjligheternas Hus – 2nd prize in international competition for a new culture house in Skellefteå, Sweden
Copenhagen 26th of June 2016
Visualizations: Sang Yeun Lee
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