Ten years has passed since we originally presented our competition proposal for creating Konsthall Tornedalen, a space for art in the beautiful landscapes of the Torniojoki River Valley in the north on the border between Sweden and Finland. Today we are happy to share the news that the building permit for Konsthall Tornedalen has been approved.
Over the course of the years, the project has matured and developed in fruitful ways. A foundation has been set up and a successful capital campaign has helped raise the funds needed for turning the plans into reality. In the spring 2022, an organization was established to run the program under the leadership of an experienced director.
A New Concept for the Konsthall Tornedalen
Since the competition phase, the functional program for the space has evolved from a place for making and exhibiting art and a gathering place for people to that of a Kunsthalle, an art museum without a permanent collection. In response to the more defined new program of the organization, also the concept for the building to house its activities in has developed.
The site is located in a breathtakingly beautiful place on the Torniojoki riverbank with a view to the arctic hills and the wilderness of Lapland. The building is carefully designed to fit in the delicate nature of the landscape. Taking its cue from the heritage of wooden barn houses in the area, the new design creates a large wooden building with a strong but simple shape.
Like a barn house for the arts, Konsthall Tornedalen provides tall open spaces that can be flexibly arranged and divided as needed according to the exhibitions presented. With its clear and simple shape, the building harmoniously takes its place in the delicate nature of the north. Making use of local materials and the skills of local woodworkers, builders, and carpenters, the building is built entirely of wood.
A Flexible and Functional Space for the Arts
The original idea of creating a space for the arts and for people to meet has remained at the core of the project. Housing all functions under one roof, the building is divided into three distinct zones according to use: galleries for exhibiting art, public spaces and a restaurant for people to come together in, and supportive spaces for the staff to work in.
On the eastern end, the gallery spaces provide a calm place for experiencing the art. Treated differently for different purposes, wood is present in the interiors in the flooring, ceiling, and the walls. They all serve as surfaces for hanging and presenting art works according to need. The wooden structure for the roof has been deliberately left exposed in the interior.
The entrance lobby and the spaces for public events as well as the restaurant with a large open view into the surrounding landscape by the river are placed in the middle. The generous, tall spaces provide an atmosphere of calm and openness. The large window running the full length of the wall of the restaurant creates a strong sense of connection with the surrounding nature.
The offices and spaces for the staff are placed next to the public spaces in the western end of the building. To complement the program of the new kunsthalle, spaces for lodging and for artist in residency will be provided nearby in the already existing buildings dating from the first half of the 20th century.
To read more about the plans of the new director of the Konsthall Tornedalen, see HERE.
For more information on the project for the Konsthall Tornedalen, see HERE.
For a description of the original competition phase proposal for the international competition for the Konsthall Tornedalen from 2012, see HERE.