Project entry 2020 for Europe

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    Aerial view. The collection of wood volumes staggers up to the hotel high-rise.

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    Towering Virtuoso in Sweden

    The timber structure in the building comes from sustainable forests, located within a 130km radius from the building site.

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    Main entrance and façade towards main square. The podium features timber facades, generous glazing, and a multitude of entrances to vitalize the public space. Above, the 20-storey hotel in Cross Laminated Timber is protected by a transparent glass veil. The building aims to be carbon neutral over its lifespan by storing more carbon in the timber structure than emitted during construction, local production of solar energy, high efficiency envelopes and through synergies.

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    Sara Culture Centre as seen from the future train station. The site topography allows for the creation of a second ground level. The theatre stages are all located on this level for flexibility of operation and to support collaboration. Public foyers are visible from the street and rehearsal spaces have access to daylight. Décor workshops (far left) also open onto the streets to allow passers-by to see the work behind the scenes.

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    The grand auditorium has 1200 seats. Acoustic panels are made from solid wood.

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    Main entrance - a new living room for Skellefteå. A democratic seating area overviewing all programs.

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    Public spaces programmed to attract those who would not traditionally go to a culture center.

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    View of public theatre foyer from construction site, dec 2019.

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    View of public theatre foyer from construction site, dec 2019.

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    View of stabilizing elevator shaft from construction site, dec 2019.

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    Exterior and interior view of hotel room module nr1, in factory in 2019.

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    Lead architects Oskar Norelius (right) and Robert Schmitz (left), White Arkitekter.

Last updated: November 13, 2021 Stockholm, Sweden

A mixed-use, public building in timber (Resource and environmental performance – Planet)

The project is to become a showcase for sustainable timber construction, by developing and realizing innovative solutions in a large scale and high-rise mixed-use building. As a result, the project aims to generally broaden the possible applications of timber construction in the industry.

Key benefits of using timber in Sara Culture Centre are:

• Reduced emissions from material production and transports as compared to a traditional steel and concrete solution.

• Carbon storage during the life cycle of the building.

• The structure is visible from within the building (not covered in gypsum) ensuring a high-quality indoor climate and giving warmth to the spaces.

Pursuing 100% prefabrication through modular construction (Innovation and transferability – Progress)

• Timber construction allows for a high rate of prefabrication.

• The columns, beams, slabs, and walls of the culture center are prefabricated in a local factory and quickly assembled on site.

• Hotel rooms are prefabricated as 3D-modules complete with bathrooms, installations, and finishes.

• Factory prefabrication in a controlled indoor environment allows for higher accuracy and better working conditions.

• Prefabricated elements are transported on site in a "just-intime"- manner and assembled, minimizing noise and disturbance.

• Construction time on site is reduced, minimizing the impact on neighbors, commerce and passers-by.

• Reduced construction time results in lower costs, compensating for the high level of innovation.

A showcase for holistic sustainability (Contextual and aesthetic impact – Place)

Sara is composed of timber volumes of varying scale and transparency combined to give a human scale at street level with lower volumes towards narrow streets, staggering up to the landmark hotel facing the main square. Public areas are accessible from the attractive pedestrian areas, and backstage workshops are also made visible to celebrate the craft behind the creative process, thus vitalizing all surrounding streets.

Facades at street level feature natural wood that will age over time, the timber structure of the high-rise is visible through a double-skin facade. The sustainability concept aims to highlight timber as a sustainable material. Hybrid ventilation, mobile sunshades and high efficiency envelopes allow for great transparency, showing the timber structure from close and afar.