A state-of-the-art cultural center and hotel, which is 75 meters high and is considered one of the world’s tallest timber buildings, has officially opened its doors; Sara Cultural Center a new typology for creativity in the Swedish city of Skellefteå.
Sara Cultural Center, a city with a rich tradition of timber architecture, marks the revival of Skellefteå’s heritage, the carbon-negative building that is now home to Skellefteå Art Gallery, Museum Anna Nordlander, Västerbotten’s Regional Theater, the new city library and The Wood Hotel. The latter is over 20 floors and has a restaurant, spa and sweeping views of the city, which is majestically located below the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland. Led by White Architects—— the winners of an international design competition initiated by the local municipality —— the Scandinavian architectural practice with “a vision that all its architecture should be carbon neutral or better by 2030” designed Sara Cultural Center using locally produced timber from regionally sustainable forests, thereafter processed in a sawmill about 50 km from the building.
The deliberate design, together with a pioneering energy system developed by Skellefteå Kraft and ABB, reduces the building’s energy use, while solar panels on the roof produce renewable energy which in combination with the timber structure compensates for the CO2 emissions produced by the building. The building has been designed to have a lifespan of at least 100 years and will be carbon dioxide negative within 50 years.
A dynamic meeting place that combines culture and entertainment with hospitality, Skellefteå’s new cultural hub represents an inspired commitment to sustainability and cultural influence for the city. A new vision for how significant timber buildings can be. This new Swedish icon offers a plan for a brighter tomorrow. Hopefully, the world’s eyes are on this small town on the Skellefte River.