by DRDH Architects

Client Bodø Kommune
Awards RIBA Award For International Excellence

© David Grandorge

Stormen Concert Hall and Library has created a new community focus for a small town, with two new civic buildings in Bodø, 100km inside the Arctic Circle. DRDH’s first major building commission, the scheme is expertly stitched into the existing urban fabric, playing off the link to the town centre as well as the nearby harbour and the luminous experience of the Arctic sunshine.

With rigorous attention to detail, material and the user’s experience of both the space of the library building and new concert hall spaces, the architect’s design is matched with technical ambition. The concert hall houses three music venues within its structure, and is considered comparable to the New York’s Carnegie Hall as one of the best in the world for symphonic music.

The configuration and massing of the buildings are a painstaking response to their immediate context, recognising routes, datums, materials, entrances and views of the surrounding buildings in an attempt to stitch the new buildings into the existing urban fabric. Enriched public spaces have been created for the library and concert hall which give activity and presence to both the harbour and the main pedestrian street that links them to the town centre. The opposing building entrances create an impressive gateway to the town on the main arrival route from the airport and motorway. The spatial relationships of the buildings to each other is equally carefully considered, so that when viewed from the waterfront they appear to have a unified stepping appearance. This also allows the terrace of the larger theatre building behind to enjoy views over the smaller library building to the fjord beyond. Similarly in section the various foyers of the theatre align with the floor levels of the library to establish relationships between the users of the two buildings, visible through carefully considered openings. The walls are stacked loadbearing panels of engineered stone with a 70% marble aggregate that creates a luminous and constantly changing appearance in the Arctic sunshine- at times bright and glistening with presence and then by contrast almost recessive settling quietly into their context.

Internally, every detail, material and experience as you move through the library building appears to have had the same rigour of consideration, from the bespoke furniture they designed to the treatment of the exposed concrete soffit. A series of delightful bright airy spaces on either side of a wide internal street house library stacks, study areas and exhibition spaces. Within the “street” a generous open staircase rises creating animation and providing orientation within the building. A simple palette of concrete, timber and plasterboard provide a calm backdrop to the colour of the books and exhibits. On the upper level an external courtyard is created at the centre of the plan creating a sheltered play space for the children’s library which occupies this upper floor. The building has been so successful that library use has increased by 1000% and they are now open 7 days a week and host various community and study groups. This building has created a much needed and appreciated community focus for the town.

The concert hall ingeniously houses three entirely different music venues linked by a generous staircase and series of foyer spaces the highest of which includes a terrace which address the harbour. The full height glazing and stone columns which provide shading on this façade create a lovely play of light and shadow in the foyer spaces accentuating the warm glow of the arctic sunlight. A similar palate of wood, stone and white walls has been used in this building, but here in contrast to the library it creates a richer more theatrical effect by the more extensive use of wood and simple but effective lighting. The acoustic treatment of the walls and ceilings has been well considered, and cleverly used to create texture to otherwise pared back finishes. Automated acoustic panels on the flank walls of the auditorium can be “tuned” to provide bespoke reverberation times for each performance. Attracting Symphony orchestra’s from around the world, and Norway’s biggest names in modern music the concert hall has been a huge success, and put Bodø on the map.

Contractor Ramboll As
Structural Engineers Norconsult / Arup
M&E Engineers Norconsult / Arup
Cost Consultant Bygganalyse
Project Management Ramboll
Landscape Architects Dark Arkitekter
Venue Consultant Arup
Acoustic Engineers Arup
Lighting Design Norconsult
Regulation Consultant Dark Arkitekter

Cost £61,000,000
Internal Area 17,500 m²
Date Of Occupation - 11/2014

© David Grandorge
© David Grandorge
© David Grandorge
© David Grandorge
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