KRÄFTA First prize, 500.000 SEK

Author: Harri Mäkiaho, Tammerfors, Finland

The jury’s assessment:

The Kräfta scheme is awarded first prize and recommended for realisation by virtue of the beautifully simple solution which at the same time offers exceptional spatial qualities. Kräfta is an obvious winner, with a convincingly simple manner which discreetly fits in with the context, in terms of material and scale, and at the same time achieves both beauty and absolute originality in its creation of a building with a dramatic expression all its own. Sundsvall will acquire the signature building called for in the competition brief.

The project has a robust, simple structure which is judged capable of coping with a thorough development process without losing its basic qualities.

Fundamentally, this project is a simple cube shape on the scale of the Stone Town, cut up into smaller volumes to create an open, communal foyer in the middle of it. This room is very dramatic and beautiful in shape, with open light slits as a foil to the solid volumes of the buildings. The focus of attention in this public building is clearly on the public. Both the piazza outside and the public inner space can be used for many different arrangements and activities. The building can be kept open frequently and people will be able to walk through it without any particular reason. The public can look out over the city and landscape from foyer and roof terraces, at the same time as residents will be attracted by the activity discernible inside the building. Like a city precinct, the scheme has no backs, which is a very important quality of this project. The entrance façade in the west, facing the new piazza, is articulated solely by means of a slightly greater distance between the closed volumes. The new piazza on the sheltered western side is judiciously proportioned. The restaurant is also sited on the western side, with an outdoor cafeteria basking in the evening sunlight.

This project is almost completely detached from Kulturmagasinet, and can thus be suitably scaled and given a character of its own. Thanks to the slight displacement in relation to the gridiron layout of the Stone Town, no crannies will be created or dead ends experienced between the new building and Kulturmagasinet, even though the two are relatively close together. At the same time, the functional connection between Kulturmagasinet and the arts centre and theatre needs to be developed and opened up in the ongoing process, in order to clarify the connections and improve the potential efficiency of activities.

The brief is accomplished within the proposed volume, but certain functions need to be developed in order to achieve better functionality, especially as regards goods reception, the backstage area, workshops and other working facilities, which have been given dark locations on the basement storey. The building could do with being elevated slightly so as to admit daylight to working premises and dispense with costly foundation work. The materials and technical solutions chosen for the project also need to be reviewed in the ongoing process. Given the structure and powerful form of the project, changes in a dialogue with the users are judged to be perfectly possible.