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Väven Cultural Center

The building’s concept was shaped in conjunction with Umeå’s residents who didn’t just want to consume culture they wanted to create it too – requesting a center that would allow them to participate in both spontaneous and planned activities. This concept of weaving is not only present in the cultural aspects of the building, but also in its many different functions; hotel, conference center, black-box theater, museum, library, and many others.

Courtesy of White Arkitekter + Snøhetta – Photography: Lindman

The design takes its cue from this mesh of cultural activities and functions, wrapping them up together in one large, unifying gesture through the building’s façade: a series of reflective glass ribbons woven together to form the building’s envelope. The façade is inspired by the city’s signature Birch trees – the white bark resembling the opaque cladding during the daytime hours, while at night the warm interior light gives off the same illusion. The darker bands meanwhile, are symbolized in the envelope’s glazing. The concept of weaving also influenced the building’s access points – there are no grand entrance or exit points but six carefully placed ones, accessible from three different levels that do not break up the continuity of building’s seemingly never-ending array of experiences.

Courtesy of White Arkitekter + Snøhetta – Photography: Lindman

The façade is inspired by the city’s signature Birch trees – the whitebark resembling the opaque cladding during the daytime hours, while at night the warm interior light gives off the same illusion. The darker bands meanwhile, are symbolized in the envelope’s glazing.

Courtesy of White Arkitekter + Snøhetta – Photography: Lindman

The concept of weaving also influenced the building’s access points – there are no grand entrance or exit points but six carefully placed ones, accessible from three different levels that do not break up the continuity of building’s seemingly never-ending array of experiences.

Courtesy of White Arkitekter + Snøhetta – Photography: Lindman

The culture house will undergo constant change and development in terms of the activities it offers, through continuous dialogue with its stakeholders. For this reason, spaces are deliberately loose, playful and flexible, using as few materials as possible: wooden floors, ridged wood ceilings, and columns of plain concrete.

Courtesy of White Arkitekter + Snøhetta – Photography: Lindman

Väven forms part of a larger master plan, the City between the Bridges, which aims to create a cultural area along the river Ume. White has been entrusted with this masterplan for over a decade now, and creating Sweden’s second largest cultural center, in collaboration with Snøhetta, the client, local businesses and the people of the city, has been the jewel in its crown.

Courtesy of White Arkitekter + Snøhetta – Photography: Lindman

Project Info
Architects: White Arkitekter, Snøhetta
Location: Umeå, Sweden
Area: 25000.0 sqm
Sustainability Programme: White
Interior Design: White
U & Me Hotel Interior Design: Stylt Trampoli AB
Landscaping: Snøhetta
Lighting Design: ÅF Lighting
Theatre Consultant: AIX architects AB
Graphic Design: Studio AB
Year: 2014
Type: Cultural Center
Photographs: Lindman

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