Bærum Cultural Center
A focal point of an essential cultural axis


Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture


The Bærum Cultural Center is built in an exciting town center site next to a plaza that used to be chaotic, close to a traffic-congested area, and without clear boundaries. The building forms the focal point of an essential cultural axis running through the town center of Sandvika, a village, and the administrative center of Bærum.

The building plaza connects the old town hall, the bridge crossing the river, the new city hall with municipality offices, and the neighboring cinema complex. The Cultural Center is formed around a 600-seat theater hall, equipped with all necessary backstage facilities, two rehearsal rooms, and a sizeable public foyer.

Technical details

Museum & Gallery, Performance Space
Sandvika, Norway

Bærum Municipality

4 500 m2

Both photos: Bruce Damonte

Photo: Damian Heinisch

Semi-outdoor arena

The building's cantilever makes the entrance plaza a semi-outdoor area. Since the site was too small to fit the building, creating an inviting and functional foyer connecting the indoor and outdoor plaza spaces was essential. 

This upper foyer reaches towards the streetscape and reuses A. Haukelands Plaza as part of the cultural stage. It also acts as a rehearsal room, lobby, gallery, and presentation space for the public on the street outside.

Industrial atmosphere

The indoor foyer has a floor made of white terrazzo with embedded glass pieces that stretch out as a white concrete carpet in the plaza. The glass façade has an integrated light design program with full RGB colour renderings.

The main theater room is designed with an economical use of materials. Plywood and exposed catwalks and structures create an industrial atmosphere within a predominantly refined architectural program. The curving seating plan and simple proscenium opening provide potent intimacy with the stage and performance.

Photo: Damian Heinisch

Photo: Bruce Damonte

Photo: Damian Heinisch

Dramatic presence

The reconstruction of the site plaza is concentrated around generous slate-covered sidewalks and granite curbs framing the new circular traffic pattern.

Green lawns and new tree plantings frame the slopes around the old town bridge and reconnect down to the river. The building has a dramatic presence within the existing urban context, giving culture an identity in Sandvika and Sandvika an identity on the Norwegian cultural scene

All photos: Bruce Damonte

Photo: Bruce Damonte