Kaid Benfield Archive


The world’s tallest wooden building

Kaid Benfield

Posted September 25, 2009 at 1:37PM

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  rendering of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat (by: Reiulf Ramstad Architects via BarentsObserver.com)

Kirkenes, Norway, on the border with Russia in the Arctic "High North," will soon host the world's tallest wooden building.  The structure is the project of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, an agency of the country's three northernmost counties that funds cross-border community projects assisting culture, business, youth, the environment, education and indigenous peoples.  The Secretariat wanted a signature building to symbolize the importance of continued positive developments in the High North.

As explained on the website of Barents Observer:

"The new Barents House must be of such significance that people would want to go there from afar to experience the house. It must be an attraction and a landmark which is beyond any other similar building. As important is the ambition of making the building a centre for knowledge development, especially about the High North and Norwegian-Russian relations, and a place for the gathering and assembly of international High North interests," says Secretary General Rune Rafaelsen at the Norwegian Barents Secretariat.

The 16-17-story building will be constructed of natural materials, designed to operate as carbon-neutral, and situated in downtown Kirkenes, "on the historical ground of a multiethnic area."  Designed by Oslo's Reiulf Ramstad Architects, the building will include a library, a theatre, and space for artists, researchers, and students, along with the offices of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, the International Barents Secretariat and the Barents Institute.

There's more about the building's architecture in Bridgette Meinhold's post on Inhabitat, as well as in the Barents Observer.  The renderings certainly look beautiful, and the whole thing makes a nice antidote to the extravagant excesses of Dubai.  (If you prefer to read Norwegian, go here.)