On October 22, Kongsberg City Council announced that Mecanoo, together with Oslo based Code Arkitektur and Buro Happold, have won the design competition for a Knowledge and Cultural Square in the center of Kongsberg, a former mining town about 75 km southwest of Oslo.
The creation of the Knowledge and Cultural Square is the first step in reviving Kongsberg's historic west side.
The project comprises of a design for a cultural and teaching building totaling approximately 24,000 m², and includes future expansion of other functions, such as student housing, sports facilities and businesses.
The creation of the Knowledge and Cultural Square is the first step in reviving Kongsberg's historic west side and consolidating a disparate city center with active public spaces and facilities. Mecanoo's 'Silver Factory' concept envisions a modern factory of culture, knowledge and public life that will create a new heart for the city.
Chairman of the jury Erik Løfsnes: "The Silver Factory has solved a complex building program with a shape that can be a great asset for Kongsberg. This is a project that can become a real cultural and educational attraction, both nationally and internationally."
With a dark, rugged exterior that opens up to a warm and luminous interior the Silver Factory brings together a variety of educational and cultural functions in an impressive learning arena that frames views of the unique Kongsberg surroundings. Erik Løfsnes: "The superior concept is the large internal space. The project, with its spectacular interior has a great potential for shared use of common features and a compelling opportunity for a rewarding environment for learning, innovation and culture."
The different functions are stacked and overlapped to offer both maximum efficiency and flexibility and at the same time create an open public forum that will sparkle with the synergy and fusion of Kongsberg's intertwining new silver: knowledge and culture.
Also in Scandinavia, Mecanoo is short listed to create the architectural design of buildings and landscape at the future European Spallation Source research center in Lund (Sweden), one of the world's largest research facilities when operational in 2019.
Other current international projects include the Library of Birmingham (UK), the Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts in Kaohsiung (Taiwan), the campus of the National University of Science and Technology MISiS in Moscow (Russia), the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen (China) and Dudley Municipal Center in Boston (USA).