Adding another UNESCO site to our portfolio

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We won the competition for a new culture house and library in the heart of Swedish baroque city Karlskrona - our fifth UNESCO-related project. 

Dorte Mandrup, together with Marianne Levinsen Landskab and Torbjörn Nilsson, have been announced winner of the competition to design a new culture house with library, art hall and café in the center of Karlskrona, Sweden. Due to its unique architectural character and naval past, central parts of the city have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site making the culture house our fifth World Heritage related building. The other four UNESCO-protected sites count the Wadden Sea Center in Ribe, the Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre in Groningen, the Trilateral Wadden Sea World Heritage Partnership Centre in Wilhelmshaven, and the Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat.

”We are thrilled about the opportunity to put our mark on yet a historical and UNESCO-protected context,” Founder and Creative Director, Dorte Mandrup, explains.

“The task demands that we act with humility and respect for the existing and at the same time add a new character and identity to the place. This is our preferred way of working, and projects like this is what makes working as an architect meaningful,” Mandrup adds.

The culture house is meant to become a modern meeting place and hub for several cultural activities. Situated at the corner of ”Stortorget”, Karlskrona’s central square, the building will house a library and room for different activities such as dance, music, and exhibitions.

Respecting the past, courageous about the future

Our answer to the diverse program is a design that respectfully plays together with the unique buildings of the city and the square. On the outside, the we have interpreted the three-part façade division of the baroque and thus scale down the building's length. Inside, a large, sculptural staircase creates a natural movement through the various levels of the building and connects Stortorget with the city's new viewing platform on the roof of the culture house.

With both theater hall, art hall, library, tourist information, maker space, study space and café, Karlskrona's new cultural center will provide the setting for inspiring meetings between people, culture and science. Our winning proposal will form the basis for the forthcoming detailing and construction of the cultural center, which is expected to be ready by the end of 2021.

About the competition

Summer 2018, Karlskrona Municipality invited architecture companies to bid on the task to design a new cultural center in the centre of Karlskrona. Four teams prequalified for the competition, which was decided in spring 2019. On April 3 we were announced winner.

The jury report states about our proposal: “Karls krona (project’s name, ed.) constitutes a new icon on Stortorget in the form of an elegant interpretation of classical architecture” and “… [the building] has a evident Karlskrona identity”.