A New Start with Local Colour: The Kunskapshuset in Gällivare
Client: Gällivare kommun
Architects: Liljewall in collaboration withMAF Arkitektkontor
Location: Postgatan, 982 31 Gällivare (SE)
In Sweden’s northern iron-ore region, it happens time and again that buildings or entire communities are resettled. The village of Malmberget (literally: ore mountain), which is near Gällivare in Swedish Lapland, has met this fate. It stands on an ore mine, some of whose tunnels have already been blown up. The result is a gaping hole, 250 metres deep, in the middle of town. Many buildings are threatened with collapse.
New living space for residents is currently being created closer to the centre of Gällivare. As a consequence, there is a growing need for public institutions such as Kunskapshuset (House of Knowledge), which was designed by Liljewall in cooperation with general consultants MAF Arkitektkontor. The six-storey, terraced new building has enough space for 850 upper secondary school students and a centre for adult education. The building, whose façade is painted red, was inspired by the nearby nature. On the exterior, the most striking characteristics are surely the oversized, exposed façade mullions of glulam timber. Arranged in pairs and profiled in a sawtooth-like shape, they divide the views of the building into the vertical and horizontal. The building itself is based on a hybrid supporting structure of steel columns and supports as well as hollow-core slabs of reinforced concrete. In the conference rooms on the attic level, the ground-floor cafeteria and the impressive five-storey entrance hall, features of exterior building have been brought indoors. Here, massive wooden supports bear the roof girders of red-painted wood, which appear in a herringbone pattern. In many places, the architects have also designed the interior fittings expressly for the new structure. They have taken up motifs from the landscape surrounding Gällivare; for instance in the cafeteria, where the lamps above the serving counters resemble fishing rods and the benches look like stacked wooden beams.