Plassen Cultural Centre
by 3XN

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Stone bleachers climb onto the roof of this cultural centre in Molde, Norway, by Danish architects 3XN, creating open-air seating for visitors to the jazz festival hosted there each year (+ slideshow).

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Located in the heart of the small town, the Plassen Cultural Centre will become a hub for the July event, which is one of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe and attracts around 100,000 tourists.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

The external staircase adjoins the northern wall of the building, linking the neighbouring market square with a roof terrace that accommodates a sunbathing lounge, an exhibition area and a sculpture garden.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

The entrance to the three-storey building is positioned at the foot of the stairs, and leads into a concert hall through a triple-height atrium.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

"There must be room for celebration in this building, both inside, on top of it and around it," said 3XN's Jan Ammundsen."It must be able to withstand being invaded by happy people throughout the year, year after year."

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

A jazz museum is also included inside the building, alongside a library, a small gallery and a series of rehearsal studios.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

The architects used granite for all the exterior surfaces, which they claim "gives the building a bright monochrome expression" that contrasts with the "warm red light" that shines out through the windows.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Other projects completed by 3XN in the last year include another culture centre with glass hills outlined on its facade and an experimental food laboratory.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

See more stories about 3XN »

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

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Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Photography is by Adam Mork.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Here's a project description from 3XN:


Cultural Center ‘Plassen’
Molde, Norway

‘Plassen’ (meaning the square or the space in Norwegian) is formed like a giant paper cutting. The building literally grabs the city square, Gørvellplassen. It cuts and folds the surface, resulting in a building where the inside and the outside, the surface and the roof, merges into one. This compact and well-functioning structure with its highly usable and easy accessible areas maintains the public space of Gørvellplassen, and even enhances the flexibility of the square.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

The flowing transition between the stages, the gallery, and the café creates the illusion that the inner and outer spaces are one. Emphasizing this principle, the windows of the building can be described as wide horizontal openings allowing plenty the daylight, and providing a splendid view from within as well as from the outside. The relatively low-rise building consists of just three floors that make room for the local theatre, ‘Teatret Vårt’, ‘The Bjørnson Festival’ and Molde’s International Jazz festival which attracts famous jazz musicians and a wide audience when it takes place every summer in July.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Contemporary and innovative, but at the same time simple and blunt, the design of the building resists any excesses. Hence, it is in accordance with the surrounding sober and regularly shaped buildings. Use of the same local stone on both walls and floors, creates a calm atmosphere. The exterior is dominated by the broad staircase. This created a lot of space for people to rest in nice weather. The staircase provides the jazz festival with a big open-air stage that may become a new focal point for the town.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

The heart of the building is the main concert hall, solved in “box in box” room, to ensure optimal acoustics. Therefore, the concert hall is rectangular and stripped of fancy shapes. Finally, ‘Plassen’ contains a library and an arts centre with a gallery facing the upper square. The library is situated in the eastern wing with a strong exposure to the square.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Architect: 3XN
Project type: Cultural Center
Functions: Theatre, concert hall, café, gallery, library
Client: Molde Kulturbyg AB

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Construction: 2009 – 2012
Official Opening: 14th of July, 2012
Size: 5,800 m2
Cost: 187 mio. norwegian kroner / / 25 mio euros
Engineer: Norconsult AS

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Site plan - click above for larger image

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Ground floor plan - click above for larger image

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

First floor plan - click above for larger image

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Second floor plan - click above for larger image

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Long section - click above for larger image

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

Cross section - click above for larger image

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

North elevation - click above for larger image

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

East elevation - click above for larger image

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

South elevation - click above for larger image

  • rohtmuz

    Has this not already been done in Norway by Snøhetta a few years earlier? In fact they won the competition in 2000! http://www.archdaily.com/440/oslo-opera-house-sno

    • Andy

      Yes this has been done many times… but who cares? It is a building typology that works and the project does well to link the two street levels.

  • hana

    Yeah, a walk on the roof and stairs in general are invented by Snøhetta. Obviously.

  • Nico

    I very much agree with it not being as original as it could have been, but it’s a great building. Also, the interiors really resemble the newly finished dental faculty in Bergen, Norway, by Kristin Jarmund.

  • Hala Hasan

    What a nice project! And great concept that you build something which connects two streets. It is really a cultural centre that brings people together. Everything designed in this building for people to communicate and merge! You can feel the movement of the spaces by just looking at the pictures without even being there! Although it may look simple but it is really innovative. You can visualize the whole interior by just standing outside on the stairs where you feel that the interior and exterior are one.