Norway’s Striking New Performing Arts Center by ALA Architects

Posted by Staff on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Kilden Performing Arts Centre in Kristiansand, Norway

A surefire way to bring much needed attention to your city is to build a new architectural landmark – just consider some of the recent projects we have covered. The new Ferrari museum, for example, is located in a city known primarily for its vinegar and 12th-century cathedral; but with the opening of a building designed by the late Jan Kaplicky, Modena seriously bumped up its cultural cachet. As of late, we’ve been hearing a lot about another European city due to its recently completed cultural landmark. Kristiansand, Norway, has become the darling of the design world based on its new Kilden Performing Arts Center designed by the Finnish architecture firm, ALA.

Kilden Performing Arts Center in Kristiansand, Norway

The new Kilden Performing Arts Center provides a unique space for all of the community’s performing arts programs and their supporters. Throughout the year, one will be able to catch a wide variety of performances, including concerts by the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, operas by the Opera south, and plays by the regional theater group, Agder Theater. Additionally, the performing arts center includes a smaller stage for experimental theater and a multi-use hall.

Interior of Kilden Performing Arts Center by ALA

Before anyone even enters the building, they will be met by an architectural performance orchestrated by ALA. The building’s striking façade was designed to denote a transition from the workaday world to the creative realm of the arts. This dichotomy is even further dramatized by the performing arts center location in an industrial setting. The glowing and undulating oak wall that projects beyond the centers entrance appears among the grey landscape as a portal into an exciting new world. Furthermore, the building’s rippling façade imitates the water of the canal directly in front of the center. This aspect of the design suggests that the building itself is fluid and exists outside the rigid rules of everyday life.

Theater inside the Kilden Performing Arts Center in Kristiansand, Norway

At its core, “Kilden produces experiences.” (ALA) ALA took it upon themselves to design a space which would encourage strong experiences for the performer and audience alike. In order to do so, they have built in many dramatic tensions to be resolved by the visitors’ interactions with them. In great contrast to the soft and fluid shape of the building’s façade, the walls of the main theater are wrapped in stained metal sheets folded into sharp geometric shapes. This interior wall hints at the same industrial landscape that the exterior façade boldly challenges. The dynamic interplay between these various surfaces transforms the building into what ALA has called “an elegant machine – a building as an instrument.” Now it is up to the community of Kristiansand to bring out the music.

Images: Hufton + Crow

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