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Karlshamn Library and Culture Centre

Karlshamn/ Sweden

Size/ 5,000 m²
Competition/ 2013, 1st prize in a restricted international competition
Client/ Karlshamn Municipality, Sweden
Engineer/ Buro Happold
Landscape Architect/ SLA

The New Library and Culture Centre in Karlshamn, Sweden, is designed to gather the city’s cultural functions under one roof. The 5,000 m² flexible building contains a library, an exhibition area, a cinema, a tourist office and a café. It will be the city’s new meeting place and will embrace diversity. The facade of the building is clad with robust wooden lamellas to minimize solar gain while allowing visual contact with the inside of the building. During winter, the warm light from the building will appear inviting to visitors. In the summer, a long bench, stretching the length of the facade, will invite passers-by to sit down or engage in activities around the cultural centre.

The building is situated on Östra Piren between the industrial harbour, the local folk high school, the city and the beautiful Swedish skerries. The facade and roof are designed to meet the scale and sight lines of the surroundings hereby creating a distinctive shape.

Through a poetic interpretation of the surroundings we have created a meeting place, which will be a striking visual focal point that connects the city to the landscape and the water. The meeting place is defined by a sculptural, folded roof made of wood that gathers activities and visitors in the building under one roof – which is both the motto and the main concept of the design.

The Library is an example of a reinterpretation of the Nordic architectural tradition with a focus on the human scale, the Nordic light and the use of robust materials.

A large glass facade ensures visual contact between the inside of the building and the surroundings. The different functions are carefully situated to create synergy while ensuring open, flexible and accessible spaces that invite visitors to interact, be curious and create.

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