Eight years after 3XN won the competition to design The Arch in southern Norway, the striking day-lit culture center has finally opened. Located on a riverside plot in Mandal, the mixed-use development was conceived to be extremely sensitive to the quaint and unique character of the small town. The arched roof mimics nearby rolling hills while the white cladding is designed to match the white-painted homes that surround it. A dream come true for many locals, the center has already attracted 25,000 visitors in the two and half months since it opened.
Danish designers 3XN have been featured on Inhabitat numerous times, and it’s easy to see why. In this design, they have honored the residents and architecture of Mandal, which has a small population of just 15,000 inhabitants. Comprised of a theater, cinema, concert hall, library and cafe inside, the center’s south-facing orientation and large panoramic windows optimize daylighting and ensure that riverside activities receive plenty of sunshine.
Eventually 3XN hopes to add a green roof to the center so that it harmonizes even more fully with the surrounding environment and they are also responsible for building a bridge over the river, a project that will be completed fairly soon. A modern but sustainable center that promotes community engagement, The Arch is a magnificent achievement in design that looks especially enigmatic at night.
images via Adam Mõrk