Living Side-by-Side: Sustainable Building for Dense Environments

Session: Opening Plenary - Searching for Excellence: Are Our Towers Good Enough?

Robert SchmitzProject image

Robert Schmitz
Partner, White Arkitekter

Mass timber has emerged as one of the most sustainable solutions for building structures. In realizing a complex, mixed-use 20-story building, almost 250 feet tall, the Sara Cultural Center has become a new sustainable landmark for the region, constructed without complaint from surrounding neighbors, and is an example project guiding others in our collective transition toward carbon neutrality. The Cultural Center is constructed of over 12 000 square meters of locally sourced timber and is home to a regional theatre, a museum, an art gallery, a hotel and a city library. Placed side-by-side, the institutions will benefit from each other and empower the local community. The diverse areas of use have called for a range of innovative solutions in mass timber and steel construction to handle spans, flexibility, acoustics and overall statics. Our life cycle analysis shows that Sara Cultural Center is carbon negative over a time period of 50 years. The building broadens the application of a full timber construction and proves that timber is a viable solution for virtually any building type. Since opening in 2021, it has attracted green energy companies producing 3000 + new jobs in the region and Time Magazine named Skellefteå one of the world´s greatest places in 2022.