Sara Kulturhus, one of the world’s tallest mass timber buildings, wins the Swedish Wood Award 2024

The winner of the Swedish Wood Award 2024 was announced at the Wood Award Gala last month, and the prize went to Sara Kulturhus in Skellefteå – a local landmark that has garnered international attention for its sheer innovation, which has advanced the cause of wood construction no end. Every four years, industry body Swedish Wood presents the award to a building in Sweden that represents good architecture in wood and that reflects the times we live in.

“We are incredibly honoured and pleased to have won the Swedish Wood Award 2024. We want to thank our courageous clients, who were brave enough to invest in sustainable building for the future,” comment Robert Schmitz and Oskar Norelius, the lead architects for Sara Kulturhus at White Arkitekter.

Sara Kulturhus is one of the tallest wooden buildings in the world, climbing to a height of 20 storeys. Located in the heart of Skellefteå, up in the north of Sweden, the arts centre forms a natural hub that combines the city’s rich woodworking tradition with ultramodern engineering. The wood in the building is even sourced from nearby forests.

“Our discussions as a jury focused on how Sara Kulturhus has set a new standard and become the symbol for a whole city’s green transition,” explains Rahel Belatchew, chair of the Swedish Wood Award jury and founder of the Belatchew architectural practice.

The winner of the Swedish Wood Award 2024 was unveiled on 21 March at the Wood Award Gala, which was held in the new section of Tekniska Museet in Stockholm called Wisdome Stockholm – itself a timber-framed building that houses a spherical 3D cinema, also in wood. In addition to the title “Winner of the Swedish Wood Award 2024”, the victors also received SEK 100,000 (EUR 8,600) in prize money. The award was presented by Sweden’s Minister for Culture, Parisa Liljestrand.

“I am pleased with how things have gone and would like to congratulate Sara Kulturhus and the people behind it. If I had to sum up this year’s Wood Award, I would say it is about faith in the future. Sara Kulturhus is taking us to new heights and inspiring the whole world to make the sustainable transition on which we and future generations depend,” concludes Alexander Nyberg, who manages the Swedish Wood Award.

About the Swedish Wood Award

The Swedish Wood Award – one of Sweden’s most prestigious prizes for architecture – is presented every four years to a new work in Sweden that demonstrates outstanding architectural qualities. The work may be a building, bridge or other structure where wood has been used to excellent effect, embracing the possibilities of the material while also reflecting and advancing Sweden’s architectural tradition. The Swedish Wood Award is administered by Swedish Wood, which is part of the Swedish Forest Industries Federation.

The 2024 jury comprised Thomas Sandell, Camilla Schlyter, Mark Isitt and Rahel Belachew (chair). The Swedish Wood Award 2024 received a total of 145 entries. The jury visited 40 of these before drawing up a shortlist of 12 nominees. The winner was announced at the Wood Award Gala, which was broadcast live from Wisdome Stockholm at Tekniska Museet in Stockholm on 21 March 2024.

Get news & inspiration from Swedish Wood

Sign up and get information about publications and other news from Swedish Wood by email.

Sign up for the newsletter