The design of the Flekkefjord cultural centre was an exercise in inclusion: How can we make room for all artistic expressions under one roof? How do we create a house that is flexible and useable for the local artists – young and old – while at the same time belonging to the people of Flekkefjord? A cultural hub that also inspires artists from other places to come and create?
The cultural centre finally opened its doors in 2016, nine years after we won the competition. It includes a theatre hall, a black box, a cinema, a library, a youth club and a cultural school, as well as administration offices and a café. Throughout the entire process, we kept a close dialogue with all the different user groups to ensure that all needs were met – artistic, practical and technical.
It is an intricately compact building. We kept the overall height of the building low, adapting the scale to the surrounding wooden houses, even building around one of them. The main architectural gesture of the cultural centre is the large stairwell that connects the many different internal programmes. A stepped, red ceiling folds down to form the back wall of the foyer, creating a spatial continuity with the wide, red stairs that envelop the outside, leading down to and blending with the plaza below.
When darkness falls outside, the centre resembles an open seashell – lit in red, and inviting people in to discover its secrets.