2008 - 2014
Prestige architecture for the people
Popular culture and fine arts live side by side in the new cultural centre in the Norwegian city of Hamar. Vandkunsten designed the building, which locals have dubbed Hamar’s cultural living room.
In 2002, Hamar Municipality held a small competition for the design of the cultural centre, which Vandkunsten won. However it took 12 years before the project was completed, in 2014, and Hamar Cultural Centre was able to welcome the public. The multi-purpose centre contains a library, music practice rooms, a cinema, exhibition facilities, stages, a youth centre and many other services and facilities.
Inside, users encounter a democratic architecture, where raw and honest materials form the setting for informal meeting places. The 15,000-square-metre cultural centre is also conjoined with the city’s characteristic People’s House (Folkets Hus).
‘This project stands out in fact that we were able to include a number of solutions that rarely meet the client’s approval. For example, there were hardly any painting contracts. Normally, most of the surfaces would be plastered and spackled in preparation for a coat of white paint. Instead, we have preserved an industrial expression with raw concrete, visible installations and other similar features.
As an architecture firm, we have always had a special affinity for imperfection. The aspects that noticeably reduce the distance between architecture and user. Naturally, this quality is especially important in a cultural building with a broad and diverse audience, such as this one.’
–Flemming Ibsen, Architect MAA, partner at Vandkunsten
Transparent and accessible
The elongated, floating structure has become a distinctive element in the urban space. Quite extraordinarily, the building traverses the urban grid structure, thus creating a much-needed wall on the city square. The transparent glass facade invites the public in and underscores the sense of accessibility that permeates the building throughout.
Raw materials and exposed installations
The exterior of the building is in pre-patinated, dark zinc and glass, and the materials used in the interior of the Cultural House serve to underscore the industrial expression: raw, unfinished concrete, golden plywood, custom-made sheet iron main stairs and exposed installations.
A permanent art project
In extension of the construction of the building, some of the exposed walls and surfaces have been decorated by artist Nils Erik Gjerdevik with art works applied directly on the materials. A group, which includes representation from Vandkunsten, is in charge of selecting the artists for this task.
The building complex spans two city blocks in Hamar’s characteristic grid structure. The blocks in question, however, have been hard hit by post-war architectural experiments, something which the building helps to set right by recreating one side of the city’s symmetrical main square.
Project name: Hamar Cultural Centre (Hamar Kulturhus)
Category:Culture & Institutions
Client: Hamar Munincipality
Location: Hamar, Norway
Gross area: 15.000 m²
Date: 2008 - 2014
Cost of construction: 600 mio DKK
Program: Cultural centre, theater, cinemas, café, library,
Activity: Architecture and landscape
Job type: 1st Prize in competition
Construction system: Concrete
Contact: Michael Delin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Project group: Michael Delin, Gilles Charrier, Olmo Ahlmann, Hildur Hansen, Jens Thomas Arnfred, Thomas Nybo Rasmussen, Flemming Ibsen
Employees: Jørgen Bech Taxholm, Daniel Christensen, Ida Rylander, Jens Peter Kragh, Bjørn Krogh Andersen and Ida-Fatima Hansen
Engineer: Norconsult, IBR Elprosjekt, Aalerud, ÅF-consult, Brekke&Strand Akustik, NovoScen
Contractor: Martin M Bakken
Consultant: Lights: Jesper Kongshaug