The Väven Cultural Centre is part of an urban development project entitled “The City between Bridges”. It is an important catalyst for Umeå's urban regeneration and aims to create a cultural area that stretches along the Ume river. Väven is located in the centre of Umeå near the municipal park by the river, and the Cultural Centre covers an entire block. Designed by Snøhetta in collaboration with White Arkitekter AB, the new building “intertwines” various programmes and cultural activities, just like its name - Väven - which means “intertwine” in Swedish.
The result is a stage on which a combination of culture, literature, skills, social facilities, entertainment and food are intertwined and expressed in a common structure and facade. Part of the construction is located in an area already defined by the existing urban plan, whereas a second more flexible section covers an area of the river wharf that has up until now been used only for temporary activities. The centre combines various public facilities in a complex building that is designed on a human scale and has skilfully removed conventional barriers between interior areas and public spaces.
The concept of intertwining is not only present in the centre's cultural aspects, but also in the building's various components that incorporate a hotel, conference centre, theatre, museum, library and other spaces in a unique homogeneous facade with a spectacular graphic effect created by a series of staggered, horizontal bands. This effect is inspired by the birch tree - a typical tree from this area - whose trunk is characterised by its dark and white bands. The white zones are the building's closed zones, whereas, the dark zones are the glass covered areas. On account of the building's multipurpose character and geometrical complexity the lighting system that has been designed for it is extremely flexible. It is mainly based on a special version of the recessed Reflex luminaires painted black to ensure the devices blend in with the architectural context. Laser Blade luminaires have also been installed in the shared hotel spaces (rooms and corridors).
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