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Norwegen, Atelier Lorentzen Langkilde, Bodø Town Hall

A Crystalline Sculpture: Bodø Town Hall by Atelier Lorentzen Langkilde

Bodø is a small Norwegian city north of the Arctic Circle. After its near-complete destruction in the Second World War, the urban landscape recovered at considerable speed. The old town hall was among the achievements of the reconstruction work. Culture and infrastructure alike have continued to develop; Bodø is set to be European Capital of Culture in 2024.

The new city hall by Atelier Lorentzen Langkilde makes an important contribution to this culture. The polygonal slabs of natural stone of the crystal-like structure accentuate the window openings. A grid of diagonal lines covers the entire façade, creating a fascinating play of light and shade that differs depending on the time of day. In their choice of stone, the architects considered the yellow-brown shade of the old town hall and decided in favour of Jura limestone from Franconia. This material also features subtle marbling reminiscent of the old National Bank building. The limestone alone artistically connects the three structures.

Inside, a spectacular atrium extends to the roof. Light-coloured ashwood has been used on the walls and ceilings. The office spaces are arranged like tiered modules; they jut into the open space. Extensive glazed surfaces make it possible for the offices to benefit from the brightness of the atrium. A dizzying work of art by Per Kristian Nygård adds a touch of humour: tables and chairs have been screwed to the walls. On the sixth and top upper level, the cafeteria offers a panoramic view of the sea and mountains.

To ensure that the new city hall fits into the urban setting with its two neighbouring buildings, the redesign of the shared square was part of the project. Stairways and ramps flow past the structures, and seating invites visitors to rest a while. Wood and natural stone have been employed here as well.

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