Sara Cultural Centre wins international award for excellence in wood

Photo: David Valldeby & Jonas Westling

PRESS RELEASE Sara Cultural Centre in Skellefteå has been named the winner of the International Award for Wood Architecture, as revealed at the International Wood Construction Forum in Nancy, France on 7 April.

“The award is proof that here in Sweden we are capable of producing large and sustainable buildings in wood with architecture of outstanding international quality. Rising to 20 storeys, Sara Cultural Centre is the world’s tallest wooden building in terms of floors and evidence of the expertise that the Swedish wood industry possesses. The accolade shows that we have made huge advances in wood construction in Sweden,” says Alexander Nyberg, who is responsible for the Nordic region’s biggest architecture magazine Trä! and a jury member for the International Award for Wood Architecture.  

Sara Cultural Centre beat tough competition from wooden buildings around the world. 

“We are incredibly happy and honored to receive the biggest international award for wood architecture! With Sara Cultural Centre, we’ve shown that even on a large scale, you can build in a climate-smart way, and there’s no reason to avoid sustainable solutions, says Oskar Norelius from the architectural firm White, who is joint chief architect along with his colleague Robert Schmitz. Oskar Norelius continues: 

“The International Award for Wood Architecture is an important prize that promotes the best in international wood construction. Winning it indicates the quality of the project and the fact that all eyes are on the development of sustainable building in Sweden and the wider Nordic region,” says Oskar Norelius. 

In Skellefteå, news of the win was met with great pride: 

“It is fantastic to see Sara Cultural Centre win an international competition of this calibre! Here in Skellefteå we have a long tradition of building in wood and have amassed incredible expertise in the area. Using wood therefore felt natural, but also courageous considering the heights of innovation that were required. Hopefully, Sara Cultural Centre will provide inspiration as a model of sustainable wood construction – for Skellefteå, the rest of Sweden and around the world,” comments the city’s mayor Evelina Fahlesson. 

The International Award for Wood Architecture is issued by the international press to reward excellence in the field of wood architecture. The Award seeks to stimulate the development of innovative architectural thinking using wood, and to establish links between countries where wood construction plays an increasingly important role.  

Trä! – the Nordic region’s biggest architecture magazine – is published four times a year. It is a source of inspiration for professionals such as architects, structural engineers and developers, but also many private individuals. 

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