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 that gathers a diversity of functions under one roof. The building facade is clad with robust wooden lamellas to minimize solar gain while allowing visual connection with the inside of the building. The warm lighting scheme will invite people in during the dark winter months, while bench seating stretching the length of the facade will invite passers-by to sit down or engage in activities around the cultural centre in the summer sun.

The building is situated on Östra Piren between the industrial harbour, the local 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 and striking visual focal point that connects the city to the landscape and the water.

The meeting place is defined by a sculptural, folded, wooden roof that is a main driver of the design concept – to gather people and activities under one roof.

A large glass facade visually connects the interior of the building with its surroundings.

The various functions are carefully situated to create synergy while ensuring open, flexible, and accessible spaces that invite visitors to interact, explore, and create.

The library represents the traditional Nordic architectural traditions that focus on human scale, Nordic light, and the use of robust materials.

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