Flekkefjord Kulturhus Norway

Invited International Competition

Flekkefjord Kulturhus is the key regional cultural building centred in Flekkefjord, a small fishing town on the southern coast of Norway roughly equidistant between Stavanger and Kristiansand. Its traditional quarter, the site of this project, is characterised by 19th century white clapboarded timber vernacular pitched roof buildings laid out in a close knit street pattern.

The new 4,060m2 FIekkefjord Kulturhus, contains the new town library, its contemporary art galleries, culture school, cinema, youth club and a 200 seat multi form theatre. The designs represented a radical reinterpretation of the maritime town’s vernacular architecture as a basis for composition and contextual link. The upper part of the new building was akin to a floating crystal enwrapping the building and surmounting a transparent undulating base. The crystal upper levels housed the main theatre, with the skin punctuated by clear glazed panels giving vista and vantage onto the townscape and sea from key high level theatre foyer and gallery areas. At the street level base, the two storey facade wrapping the double height foyer, library and public spaces, appeared as a diaphanous curtain by day, and a shimmering undulating band of light by night, symbolising a new openness and a dynamic era for the socio/cultural life of FIekkefjord and its connection to the sea. The 200 seat auditorium is designed as a flexible, adaptable space capable of being simply transformed between its multi-modal states.

The 4.2m high galleries, including space for both temporary and permanent exhibition, were located on two levels providing simple regular gallery space, at the top of the building. Simple demountable partitions allowed change round for the hanging of different types of display, whether painting, sculpture, conceptual or digital art.

The upper levels of the building are clad in vertical jointed glazed panels, with white coloured glass and vertical lap as a fresh interpretation of shiplap timber, traditionally used horizontally to clad the buildings of the town. Timbers screens internally, control the amount of light and view that the building engages with, permitting it to be responsive to both events and the seasons.

At ground level the external public spaces between the new building and the sea were seen as key for festivals extending the cultural range of activities particularly during the summer months, with the new Kulturhus as the hub around which the cultural life of the region would move. Careful consideration of the materiality and urbanity of the locale, allowed the proposition of a dynamic highly contemporary building, whilst at the same time is respectful of its heritage and its unique architectural and townscape qualities.

Client : Flekkefjord Kommune

Area = 4,060m2