The Bodø Kulturhus and Library will consist of two public buildings; a new city library (5,500m²) and a three-auditorium concert hall (7,350m²), creating a new cultural centre for the Norwegian coastal city.
The results of the competition were announced in Bodø, Norway on 27 February. drdharchitects beat five other practices to win the invited competition, including CF Moller, Medplan, General Architecture, Langdon Reis Zahn and Lundgaard & Tranberg.
On winning the competition, practice director Daniel Rosbottom said, “These are the last two sites left in the urban centre of Bodø, following the WWII bombing which devastated the city. We are, in effect, completing the reconstruction through the building of a new cultural heart. It is a great honour to be given such a responsibility.”
Director David Howarth said, “We made over 50 iterations of the scheme to get the balance of urban and programmatic concerns right. It was very important for us that the buildings feel in scale with their surroundings and that they can mediate between old and new; whilst having the monumental quality that a civic building needs.”
Odd-Tore Fygle, mayor of Bodø and jury member, said, “We believe this is a building that will fit very well into this part of Bodø… It is very inviting. When you go down Storgata, you will really want to go into it.” Bodø is situated north of the Arctic Circle and is capital of the Nordland region of Norway. The practice qualified for the Kulturhus and Library project after placing joint first in a previous open competition for a cultural masterplan for the Bodø harbour area, in which 93 practices participated.
The buildings have a figurative quality; two distinct but related characters, engaged in conversation with each other, and with their urban and harbour contexts.
Together they form the new cultural heart of the city of Bodø.
The geometries of each building plan adjust in response to variations in the grain of the city fabric. The main entrance façade of the Kulturhus is inflected to form a hinge in the shifting line of the street, whilst the waterfront façade of the library adjusts to the line of the harbour wall, recalling both the shed like nature of harbour-side structures and the civic qualities of a temple or basilica.
The interior public spaces of the Kulturhus are planned to take advantage of expansive views across the harbour. From the principal foyer space of the Kulturhus, the shaped roof of the Bibliotek can be seen, forming a horizon to the sea and the mountains beyond. Arriving by boat, the buildings present themselves almost as a single piece; a ‘hill’ of gabled forms, perspectively receding like a theatre set; glittering on a sunny day.