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White Arkitekter wins competition to design Sweden's tallest timber building

White Arkitekter of Sweden won the competition for the 19-storey mix of culture centre and hotel in Skellefteå, a city close to the Arctic Circle. Surrounded by dense forest, Skellefteå is known for its wooden buildings and for timber construction methods involving traditional and modern technologies, meaning that timber was an obvious choice of material for the building. 

The 76-metre-high Kulturhus i Skellefteå will be built using wood treated to shrug off the tough local weather conditions, whereby hybrid parts that also incorporate steel and concrete will be prefabricated by the timber industry based in Skellefteå. 

On the lowest, publically accessible level, the county theatre of Västerbotten will find a new home, plus the building will also house the City Library, the Anna Nordlander Museum and the Konsthall, Skellefteå's art gallery. A hotel will occupy the uppermost 16 storeys.  

"A cultural centre in Skellefteå just has to be built with wood", states Oskar Norelius of White Arkitekter. "This is our way of paying homage to the region's traditions. We aim – in collaboration with local businesses – to create a wonderful project that is open for everyone and whose contemporary look will age with dignity."

The building, which will be topped with a garden complete with footpaths and cycleways, is scheduled for completion in 2019.

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