Highgate Studios 53-79 Highgate Road London NW51TL
project image
Arctic Culture Centre
The new Arctic Culture Centre is an ark that has arrived in the harbour of Hammerfest. It is a vessel bringing education, entertainment, creativity and life to a new cultural waterfront. It will also be a shelter and a container for ideas and growth. By lifting this ark above the ground the horizontal light of the arctic sun can shine through the building. The foyer is conceived as a continuation of the new public space for the town, the “Arctic Beach”, which can be used as gathering place, bus shelter, shops, cafe, dancehall, place of celebration and ceremony, The building above houses a theatre, cinema, dance performance space and music school. Thereby, the project makes horizontal and vertical connections between town, public piazza, and shopping street, and between lower parking level and seaside promenades. The scheme uses the raw material of timber cladding, the log, as a medium for a new language of building skin. The facades are a frozen expression of timber in motion, a randomized array of logs projecting from the building face to form a wooden fur, a dense layer of texture shielding its contents from the arctic elements. The building skin becomes a reading of the building as dynamic, bristling with energy and with the potential to be wild. It is also an experiment in thermal performance. This bristling coat will act like a polar bear’s fur, trapping snow and blocking wind while allowing the low arctic sun to penetrate to the dark inner skin of building. Each of the four facades is lifted to acknowledge the four building fronts: Standgata, Arctic Beach, Seaside and Hotel Square. The hull of the ark becomes a segment of a great sphere, an underbelly expressing the weight of the great timber ark above.