Design + Architecture

Cities of the Future

by Nicola McCormack

Kilden Performing Arts Center, Kristiansand, Norway

Spanning an old industrial pier in the harbor of the southern Norwegian city of Kristiansand, the Kilden Performing Arts Center will provide a single venue to accommodate the city's various performing arts institutions, including Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra and Opera South. In a typically Scandinavian flourish, the building, due for completion in 2011, integrates the natural landscape with the interior, using local oak to create a giant curved wall—which also contributes to the excellent acoustics. The $200 million center designed by ALA Architects—a Helsinki-based firm whose four partners are still only in their thirties—will accommodate up to 1,200 people. In contrast to the curved wooden wall, the rest of the structure is black, with the intention of creating an "exclusive case for the instruments it encloses." Thankfully, they haven't opted to line it in red velvet.

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