Timber triumphs! Sara kulturhus wins Wood Prize

Sara kulturhus has won the 2024 Wood Prize. It is an award presented every four years by Svenskt Trä. "Sara kulturhus has set a new standard and has become a symbol of an entire city's green transition," says Rahel Belatchew, chairperson of the Wood Prize jury.

The Wood Prize is awarded to Sara kulturhus White Architects receive the prize from minister Parisa Liljestrand during the Wood Prize Gala.

The Wood Prize is awarded to Sara kulturhus White Architects receive the prize from minister Parisa Liljestrand during the Wood Prize Gala.

Foto: Esma Muhic/Svenskt Trä

Engelska2024-03-22 11:53

Sara kulturhus has been awarded the prestigious Wood Prize (Träpriset), recognizing it as a model of excellence in Swedish wood architecture for the modern era. The award, which includes a 100,000 kronor prize, was presented by minister of culture Parisa Liljestrand during the Wood Prize Gala on Thursday evening.

 "We are incredibly honored to receive this recognition, said Robert Schmitz and Oskar Norelius, the responsible architects at White Arkitekter, in a press release. "Winning the Wood Prize validates our commitment to pushing the boundaries of wood construction, a process demanding both extensive knowledge and innovative thinking."

The 2024 jury, comprised of Thomas Sandell, Camilla Schlyter, Mark Isitt, and Rahel Belachew, was particularly impressed by Sara kulturhus's forward-looking design.

– This year's Wood Prize embodies optimism for the future, stated Alexander Nyberg, responsible for the Wood Prize at Svenskt Trä. 

– Sara kulturhus is a bold statement, inspiring the world to embrace the path toward sustainability, a critical transition for future generations.

Jury's rationale: A beacon for sustainable growth

"Skellefteå is experiencing rapid growth, with its current population of 72,000 projected to reach 100,000 within a decade. Sara kulturhus is envisioned as a central gathering place for the expanding city. While the library and theater form a welcoming enclosure around the city square, the ambitious 20-story hotel tower signifies Skellefteå's position at the forefront of global timber construction.

This lofty vision culminates in the building's foyer, a masterpiece of almost entirely wood construction. This space, with its near-singular material focus, stands out as one of the most characterful interiors in contemporary Swedish architecture. It is a fitting golden hall for a new era, prioritizing climate-friendly solutions.

The Wood Prize

The Träpriset is one of Sweden's most sought-after architecture awards and is awarded every four years to a new building constructed in Sweden that possesses special architectural qualities. The building can be residential, cultural or commercial, or a bridge or a facility where wood has been used in a correct way that takes advantage of wood's possibilities and at the same time reflects or develops the Swedish architectural tradition. Behind the Wood Prize is Svenskt Trä.