An urban cultural hub that blends in perfectly with the wild nature of the very North: Sara Kulturhus in the Swedish city of Skellefteå masters this balancing act with aplomb.
An urban hub close to the Arctic Circle? In Skellefteå – a city in the far north of Sweden – a high-rise building opened its doors in September 2021. From up on the 20th floor, visitors can marvel at the boundless vastness of the forests and the nearby archipelago in the Baltic Sea. Skellefteå is famous for its wild, unspoilt surroundings, the spectacular Northern Lights in the dark winter months and picturesque lakes and forests nearby. Recently, a new architectural landmark was also opened in Skellefteå.
A mix of modern and traditional
Sara Kulturhus – named after the Swedish author Sara Lidman who grew up here – is now making a lasting impact on the skyline of the city. Measuring 80 metres in height, the 20-storey structure is one of the world’s tallest timber buildings. The centre is home to a theatre, museum, art gallery, the city library and a modern hotel featuring 205 rooms, a spa and restaurants. The wood used in the construction of the building originates from local forests and was processed into building modules in Bygdsiljum, just 60 kilometres away from Skellefteå. With this building, White Arkitekter – who was awarded the contract for the project after an international competition – is tying in with the long tradition of timber construction seen in the region.
Recycling is cool
At the same time, the architects and the Skellefteå municipality are also setting an example at Sara Kulturhus, with sustainability written large throughout the building. Among other aspects, energy-efficient, connected technologies play a major role. Here in the far north, sunlight is also used as an important source of power, with other elements such as efficient heating pumps and batteries ensuring energy is handled as carefully as possible. The interior of the centre is also both cost conscious and environmentally friendly. Many pieces of old furniture were restored and old fabrics and materials reused for the fixtures and fittings, and even some old chandeliers have been given a new lease of life at Sara Kulturhus.
The right partner
The construction company HENT, that was responsible for managing the project at the cultural centre, relied on Geberit’s expert support when it came to the sanitary installations. Geberit contributed to this green building with a wide range of products like the drainage system Supertube, the piping systems Mepla, the installation frames Duofix and with Ifö ceramic applliances, produced at the Geberit plant in Bromölla in Sweden. Repeatedly Geberit proves itself to be the right partner for sustainable projects in the architecture sector.
Owner: Skellefteå municipality
Architect: White Arkitekter