Vennesla Library; Norway

The Cultural House in Vennesla on Norway's south coast combines a library, a café and public meeting spaces with an existing cinema and adult educational facility.  The design team at Helen & Hard main goal was to create a sustainable public building, both environmentally and socially, for building visitors and employees alike.  Designers worked closely with user-groups throughout the design process to create a building that would meet their needs now and in the future.

The role of the contemporary library is changing – while it is essential that one can find quiet for study and reading, more and more people use the library as a place for meeting.  The objective of this project was to create an inviting, universally accessible public space, a continuation of the life outside in the adjacent town square.

The glassy street facade opens into the existing cinema foyer, incorporating seating for passers-by.  The building's primary construction integrates technical infrastructure and programatic elements into 27 prefabricated glulam ribs.  Each rib combines structure with ventilation, lighting and furniture.  Together, these ribs form the identity of the building, both inside and out, through their articulation in the geometry of the roof and the shirting form of the interior, which is visible from the city square.