Bodø Kulturhus and Library by drdharchitects



London architects drdharchitects have won a competition to design a new concert hall and library in Bodø, Norway.


Bodø Kulturhus and Library will be built on the waterfront of the city, which is located inside the Arctic Circle.


drdharchitects beat shortlisted architects CF Moller, Medplan, General Architecture, Langdon Reis Zahn and Lundgaard & Tranberg to win the competition - see Langdon Reis Zahn's shortlisted project in our earlier story.

Here's some info from the architects:


5 March 2009

Press release – drdharchitects wins library and concert hall competition in Norway

drdharchitects has won first place in the international competition to design a new library and concert hall in Bodø, Norway.


The Bodø Kulturhus and Library will consist of two public buildings; a new city library (5,500m²) and a three-auditorium concert hall (7,350m²), creating a new cultural centre for the Norwegian coastal city.


The results of the competition were announced in Bodø, Norway on 27 February. drdharchitects beat five other practices to win the invited competition, including CF Moller, Medplan, General Architecture, Langdon Reis Zahn and Lundgaard & Tranberg.


On winning the competition, practice director Daniel Rosbottom said, “These are the last two sites left in the urban centre of Bodø, following the WWII bombing which devastated the city. We are, in effect, completing the reconstruction through the building of a new cultural heart. It is a great honour to be given such a responsibility.”

Director David Howarth said, “We made over 50 iterations of the scheme to get the balance of urban and programmatic concerns right. It was very important for us that the buildings feel in scale with their surroundings and that they can mediate between old and new; whilst having the monumental quality that a civic building needs.”

Odd-Tore Fygle, mayor of Bodø and jury member, said, “We believe this is a building that will fit very well into this part of Bodø... It is very inviting. When you go down Storgata, you will really want to go into it.”

Bodø is situated north of the Arctic Circle and is capital of the Nordland region of Norway. The practice qualified for the Kulturhus and Library project after placing joint first in a previous open competition for a cultural masterplan for the Bodø harbour area, in which 93 practices participated.

Description of the scheme

The buildings have a figurative quality; two distinct but related characters, engaged in conversation with each other, and with their urban and harbour contexts. Together they form the new cultural heart of the city of Bodø.

The geometries of each building plan adjust in response to variations in the grain of the city fabric. The main entrance façade of the Kulturhus is inflected to form a hinge in the shifting line of the street, whilst the waterfront façade of the library adjusts to the line of the harbour wall, recalling both the shed like nature of harbour-side structures and the civic qualities of a temple or basilica.

The interior public spaces of the Kulturhus are planned to take advantage of expansive views across the harbour. From the principal foyer space of the Kulturhus, the shaped roof of the Bibliotek can be seen, forming a horizon to the sea and the mountains beyond. Arriving by boat, the buildings present themselves almost as a single piece; a ‘hill’ of gabled forms, perspectively receding like a theatre set; glittering on a sunny day.

About the practice

drdharchitects is a London-based architecture practice, established in 2000 by Daniel Rosbottom and David Howarth. The emerging practice has achieved critical recognition both for its built work and in competition.

In 2008, the practice was chosen by Herzog & de Meuron to be one of 100 young architects from 27 countries to design a villa for a new cultural city in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China as part of the Ordos 100 project, curated by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Detailed plans for the 1,000 sq m villa were submitted in September 2008.

In 2007, the practice was one of six chosen by the American Institute of Architects for New Practices: London an exhibition at its New York gallery space.

In 2005, drdharchitects won an invited international competition to design an apartment building in the Hafencity, Hamburg. This project led to the practice being invited to participate in a competition to develop a masterplan for the new Hafencity University in the City.
Also in 2005, the practice placed second in the UK Young Architect of the Year Award.

Completed projects by the practice include The Workshop, an office extension in Sheffield (2008), a gallery space at London Metropolitan School of Architecture (2008), an office interior for RichMix cultural centre in Shoreditch, London (2006) and a temporary pavilion at the British Library for the London Architecture Biennale (2006).

The practice is part of the Keilder Partnerships Art and Architecture framework panel for projects at Keilder Water and Forest Park in Northumbria.

drdharchitects has most recently been shortlisted, in association with Ghent-based Jan de Vylder Architecten and consultants Technum, for the design of a community building and 50 residential units in the city of Aarshot, Flanders; and for a new library and learning centre in the Belgium city of Kortrijk.

Posted on Sunday March 8th 2009 at 2:06 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • windbag

    lifeless, soulless we have the whole Henrik Ibsen thing going on here.

  • One

    Life less? I do not think so.

  • BH

    The name ‘windbag’ kind of says it all…..! Maybe you were looking at a zaha project by mistake, this project is the antithesis of soulless.

    Great work, at once civic and inviting, understated and harmonious.

    Would be good to see some drawings.

  • archcritic


  • archcritic

    i get a chub just imagining this space.


  • nicey

    archcritic, i just looked up ‘i get a chub’ ….. you cannot be serious.

    ‘a figurative quality’ ‘geometries of each building plan adjust in response to variations in the grain of the city fabric’ ‘two distinct but related characters, engaged in conversation with each other’ ‘qualities of a temple or basilica’ ‘inflected to form a hinge in the shifting line’.

    talk about arch; what a load of facile pretentious bilge; but well suited to the scheme.

    bodø may not be the loveliest of norwegian towns but its scenery and people deserve better.

  • Emily May Scott

    Congratulations, great work!!!!

  • Very to like, the sensation of uniformity well, beautiful silhouettes not to the detriment of surrounding architecture is created

  • Somo

    beautiful, light, gentle creatures. Appears very inviting, hospitable space..

    Agree that it’d be good to see some drawings..

    ‘nicey’, on the other hand (who had to look up ‘chub’) shows lack of imagination and intuition.. i’d say

  • A great Hospital..

  • Angelos

    it’s the age of transparency!

  • Volpina

    One of the best Context – Building relationship I have ever seen. Excellent exterior, depressing interior. Is this building ment to send everyone home to read the borrowed book straight away? The world: PUBLIC SPACE, means something more inviting in my vocabulary.

  • I've been to Bodø a couple of times and even though I'm not an expert in architecture even I can see that this building is something special.

    And by the way: I love the pictures on this site. Eye candy!

  • This is brilliant! elegant springs to mind… feel safe in the knowledge Daniel Rosbottom is head of architecture at my university

  • Amazing architecture! Bodø in itself is a very special place so this building will no doubt enhance its beauty even more.

  • Really beautiful images!