träbågen culture center by space popular illuminates skellefteå in sweden

träbågen culture center by space popular illuminates skellefteå in sweden

space popular, a UK-based design practice, hit the record with its träbågen culture center proposal in the swedish city of skellefteå — expected worldwide to be one of the largest public buildings made out of wood. housing a wide range of programs, the proposed project would gather activities that are currently taking place in different parts of the city. this centralization offers great opportunities but also many challenges, as this single structure has to reflect both commercial and public interests. in this sense, space popular’s culture center would be the strongest architectural landmark of northern sweden.

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
bird’s eye view of the proposed complex, illuminated during a winter’s night




space popular’s  building complex rises 63 meters above the city, far higher than any other structure in skellefteå. the expressive facades with their vibrant colors and diverse forms will be visible miles away from the town center, and will greatly impact the city’s visual structure. this is a unique opportunity for the local community, since the project creates a new spatial dimension that extends beyond the densely populated area around the culture center. all facades have their own character expressed in the painted exterior wooden structures –which means that each neighborhood gets its own cultural center and unique features.

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
view towards the north  on a cold winter afternoon illustrating the play of colors between the facade and sky




the träbågen culture centre is divided into 14 floors, of which 2 are underground. the structure is also designed as two separate towers, connected by wooden bridges between the second and twelfth floor. the lower levels house the västerbotten theater company and two auditoriums with adjacent foyer spaces — linking the theater to the hotel lobby and library via escalators, stairs and elevators. the art gallery and city library can be found between the first and third floor, on the southern side. as for the hotel, congress center, spa and restaurant, all are located on the northern side of the complex and have direct access to all cultural activities. the restaurant offers a panoramic views of the city and occupies all of the fourth floor.


träbågen also offers three roof terraces with various quality of experience. the first one, facing west, features an outdoor pool which connects directly to the spa. on the terrace facing south, over 200 people can sit and have lunch in the sun — looking down over the square. finally, at the top of the building, visitors can look through the wooden arches and beyond the townscape vista.

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
hotel lobby south view: a grand staircase leads down to the main stages; escalators lead upwards to public programs




the proposed center in skellefteå not only reflects current environmental awareness but also the nordic history of traditionally building houses out of wood. as a result, the complex’s wooden structure creates a surreal polychromatic effect. in fact, träbågen gets its colored facades from the northern sky due to low sunlight, and this creates a mesmerizing spectacle of blue, pink, yellow, orange, and red hues.

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
view from “torsgatan”, towards the steps leading to the main theater entrance facing south.

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
north-eastern perspective along “kanalgatan” — on a snowy winter evening

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
 north-western view, from the new public square on “kanalgatan”

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
south elevation

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
western facade of the foyer lobby — showing glulam beams and ETFE film

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
north-south section of the complex

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
site plan showing the ‘vehicle arrival’ bay in the north-west corner — by “trädgårdsgatan” and “södrajärnvägsgatan”

space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
floor plan: -00 level


space popular träbågen culture center sweden designboom
floor plan: +02 level



project info:


space popular team: lara lesmes, fredrik hellberg, jariyaporn prachasartta, prapasri khunakridatikarn, kanyaphorn kaewprasert, kornkamon kaewprasert, thanaporn lam



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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