3XN: cultural center plassen
3XN: cultural center plassen 3XN: cultural center plassen
oct 01, 2012

3XN: cultural center plassen

‘cultural center plassen’ by 3XN, molde, norway image © adam mork all images courtesy of 3XN




danish firm 3XN has just completed the ‘cultural center plassen’ for the community of molde in norway. the heart of the building is a bright red ‘box within a box’ which houses the auditorium. the double skin offers a perfect sound barrier while its simple rectangular shape allows the design to focus on internal acoustics. a considerable height difference in the site informed access on two separate levels, in the end creating an irregularly-shaped curtain wall envelope with a granite skin that peels and cuts away from corners and walls to invite sunlight and reveal parts of the colorful program inside.

a large staircase defines the facade images © adam mork




the form, apart from enclosing the new library, cafe, theater, stages and gallery, becomes equally habitable inside and out, with large staircases taking visitors to the roof where they may re-enter the center to a different function. this flexibility makes the exterior just as usable as the interior, accommodating larger community events such as the annual jazz festival, when the stairs may be used as an outdoor theater. the circulation flows seamlessly through the volume as a trip to ‘plassen’ will usually involve the visitor wandering in, out, over and through the metal frame structure.

architect jan ammundsen explains the underlying concept: ‘plassen is a compact and chaste construction, but by giving the shape a number of breaches, we have created a diversity in its expression, which means that it is flexible and roomy, without seeming very big.’

image © adam mork

large staircase doubles as an outdoor stage image © adam mork

staircase acts as circulation element as well as an extra place for sitting images © adam mork

rooftop cafe area image © adam mork

suitable for large community events image © adam mork

car entrance image © adam mork

street entrance image © adam mork

library image © adam mork

large open library space image © adam mork

entrance lobby with cafe and theater image © adam mork

auditorium image © adam mork

auditorium seating image © adam mork

site plan

site plan

floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level 1







circulation and spatial diagrams







project info:


architect: 3XN project type: cultural center functions: theatre, concert hall, café, gallery, library client: molde kulturbyg ab construction: 2009 – 2012 official opening: 14th of july, 2012 size: 5,800 sqm cost: 187 million norwegian kroner / / 25 million euros engineer: norconsult as

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
492,080 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample