Modular Construction – Case Study: Skellefteå Culture Centre

Robert Schmitz
Partner, Lead Architect
White Arkitekter, Stockholm

Skellefteå Kulturhus is a 27,000 square-meter cultural center, including a 200-room luxury hotel. When completed in 2021, it will be the world’s tallest timber structure to date. The realization of this unprecedented project just below the Arctic Circle represents the surmounting of a series of challenges. A tall timber structure was adapted to a diverse program, and to withstand harsh climatic conditions. An economically viable project is being realized in a location with selective expertise and expensive labor. A construction site, occupying the total extent of the most central block in downtown Skellefteå, is being managed amidst extreme climate variations.

The use of prefabricated building elements and the manufacturing of 3D-modules are key solutions to all these challenges. Columns, beams, slabs and cores are produced in factories independently of seasons, allowing for high-precision machining of each component. The use of standardized dimensions simplifies construction, thus reducing the risk of errors. Off-site indoor prefabrication of the hotel room modules allows for the implementation of international expertise in each specific component. Both approaches dramatically reduce construction time and therefore labor costs, as well as any negative impact on the city center. In the final phases, the building is expected to rise three stories per week.

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