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Opening of the Sara Kulturhus, Photo: Sven Burman, Visit Skellefteå

You reap what you sow: Opening of the Sara Kulturhus

Ever since the design competition from 2015, all those involved had been feverishly anticipating this moment. Finally, on 8 September the time had come: the Sara Kulturhus in Skellefteå was inaugurated as part of a solemn ceremony. The initial conception for a hybrid wood-concrete construction quickly turned into a revolutionary wood-building project that has now become one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings.

The ceremony took place on one of the building’s rooftop terraces and was accompanied by a Swedish camera crew. The highlight of the program was the planting of the tree species used in building. This gesture is intended to demonstrate not only how important the topic of sustainability was for this project, but also that we should give the Earth back what we have taken from it.

The grand opening evoked enthusiasm in all who attended. Theatre director Fransesca Quartey commented: “What makes me happiest of all is that the people in charge had the courage to implement this project although they did not have all the answers. Nor did they know what a difficult journey they had embarked on. They were simply determined to carry it out nonetheless.”

The mayor of the city sees the new cultural centre as an attraction that will counteract the exodus from the region. “New jobs will be created, and culture represents an important growth factor. There can be no growth without culture. In the 2015 competition, it was important for us to commission a cultural centre that would bring everything together under one roof and bring life to the city at every time of day. A living building.” The planners from White Arkitekter have succeeded in doing just that.

The two key figures at the White Arkitekter studio, Robert Schmitz and Oskar Norelius, are more than satisfied with the implementation of their plans, despite a few details that could not be executed according to their vision. Their aim was “to create a building that gives people the feeling that they can use it whenever they enter it. A building that functions as an attraction, even from afar, and from up close is impressive in its height, which has been realized entirely in wood.”

This sense of satisfaction extends to the future users of the cultural centre. One library employee is also pleased with the new location and the opportunities that will arise by interweaving the various cultural institutions. “The new library may be smaller than the old one, but the new children’s cinema, writing courses for teenagers and extended opening hours have us convinced that we will be able to reach even more people in Skellefteå.”

Everything under one roof: Exhibition on the Sara Kulturhus by White Arkitekter.

A comprehensive report about this project will appear in Detail 12.2021.

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