Plassen Cultural Centre, Molde Architecture, Norway, Architect, Picture, Design

Molde Jazzhouse + Theatre

Plassen, Norwegian Theatre: Cultural Building – design by 3XN

1 Oct 2012

Plassen Molde

Architect: 3XN

Plassen cultural center in Molde

Flexible and Full of Jazz – Latest Project by 3XN

The Norwegian city of Molde has just 25,000 inhabitants, but every July the biggest stars of jazz and about 100,000 jazz enthusiasts flock to the town’s world famous international jazz festival. In designing the city’s new cultural center, the challenge faced by 3XN was to create a building that was flexible and robust enough to provide a framework for cultural life on both scales.

Molde Theatre Plassen building, Norway jazzhouse
photo : Adam Mørk

“There must be room for celebration in this building, both inside, on top of it and around it. And it must be able to withstand being invaded by happy people throughout the year – year after year”, says Head of Competition and Partner of 3XN, Jan Ammundsen about the Danish architectural practice’s most recently completed project, ‘Plassen’.

Located in the city center and overlooking both the fjord and the mountains, the ‘Plassen’ cultural center is an obvious meeting point. With an optimal use of every square meter, 3XN has created a building that can function both when a hundred and 100,000 people gather for concerts, festivals or theater.

The architectural solution is a structure where almost all surfaces and spaces have more than one function. Together with the building’s roof, an existing staircase next to the building constitute a total of three outdoor amphitheatres that collectively accommodate several thousand spectators. During the day the roof offers a café with outdoor seating, a recreational area with splendid views and exhibition space for the building’s gallery; while the staircase on the side of the building is an essential link between the city’s upper and lower districts.

Plassen cultural center Molde Plassen cultural center Molde Plassen cultural center Molde

“Plassen is a compact and chaste construction, but by giving the shape a number of breaches, we have created a diversity in its expression, which means that it is flexible and roomy, without seeming very big” explains Jan Ammundsen, who has emphasized that the building of nearly 6000 m2 and three floors should adapt to the relatively small properties located around it.

The same bright granite is used on all exterior surfaces and gives the building a bright monochrome expression that in the evening is contrasted by a warm red light coming from the heart of the building – the concert hall – around which other features, such as a library, café, exhibition space and performance areas are distributed. The warm color scheme of the interior combined with the solid hardwood floors and plenty of natural light result in a friendly and informal environment, which together with the many entrances make the building seem inviting and accessible to all.

“It is a building that solves many challenges, and that gives us something we’ve missed for a long time” says the head of the jazz festival, Jan Ole Otnæs. “First, it makes it possible to offer audiences and artists a much better experience both in terms of actual concert halls, but also because of the outdoor performance areas that have a unique view of the fjord, the city and the mountains. Secondly, the building connects the city’s two districts, creating a social hub for Molde”.

Plassen cultural center Molde Plassen cultural center Molde

Plassen Cultural Centre Molde – Building Information

Architect: 3XN
Project type: Cultural Building
Functions: theater, concert hall, cafe, gallery, library, exhibition space
Client: Molde Kulturbyg AB
Construction Period: 2009-12
Inauguration: Jul 2012
Size: 5,800 m2
Price: 187 million Norwegian kroner
Contractor: Brødrende Røsand AS
Engineer: Norconsult AS
Interior Designer: 3XN
Landscape: Molde Municipality

Plassen Molde images / information from 3XN

Molde Building

Address: Gørvellplassen, Molde, Norway

Competition: First Prize, invited competition

Architect: 3XN

Molde Jazzhouse Molde Jazzhouse Molde Jazzhouse Molde Theatre

Theatre and Jazz-house Molde, Norway : Description

Address: Gørvellplassen, Molde, Norway
Client: ”Teater- og jazzhuset” (a consolidation of the local theatre Teateret Vårt, Stiftelsen Molde International Jazzfestival, Kunstnersenteret Møre og Romsdal, Stiftelsen Bjørnsonfestivalen, Molde kommune og Grunneierne på Gørvellplassen)
Competition: First prize, invited competition
Budget: 75 mil. NOK / € 9.3 mio.
Size: 5.800 m²

Molde, at the Romsdalsfjord south of Trondheim, is renowned for its international jazz festival attracting both famous jazz-musicians and a wide audience every summer in July. 3XN has designed a building that quite literally grabs the site, Gørvellplassen.

Like a paper cut, the 3XN project cuts and folds the square to let the surface of the square and the roof of the building merge. In this way, the different stages, the gallery and the café of the inside, are opened up to a free flow between the interior and the exterior of the building. Horizontal strips of glass create wide openings for the daylight, providing a splendid view from within as well as openness to the exterior.

Coherence is established by use of the same, local stone on both walls and floor, and a broad staircase that provides the jazz festival with a big open-air stage. The project contains a library and an arts centre including a gallery facing the upper square. Situated in the eastern wing, the library has a strong exposure to the square.

Molde Jazzhouse + Theatre Molde Jazzhouse + Theatre Molde Jazzhouse + Theatre Molde Jazzhouse + Theatre

The structure is relatively low-rise, consisting of just three floors that make room for Teatret Vårt, Molde International Jazz Festival, the Bjørnson festival, the library, and the arts centre in a compact and well-functioning structure. With its highly usable and easy accessible areas, it maintains the public space of Gørvellplassen, and enhances the flexibility of the square, in accordance with the surrounding sober and regularly shaped buildings, while the horizontal lay-out opens up the square in the north-south direction.

Theatre and Jazz-house Molde, Norway images from 3XN Architects 270309

Kim Herforth Nielsen, Principal Architect, 3XN

Molde Jazzhouse + Theatre

Architect MAA RIBA Kim Herforth Nielsen, founder of 3XN, is Principal Architect. Kim Herforth Nielsen holds full architectural responsibility for all 3XN products from original concept to turnkey building. Kim has been a main driving force in 3XN’s 20 years of history, with projects like the Royal Danish Embassy in Berlin; the Architects’ Building in Copenhagen, the Music Building in Amsterdam, Ørestad College and the upcoming Museum of Liverpool in his port folio. Kim is honoured with the Danish Knight’s Cross and the Eckersberg Medaille. He is judge in the Danish Architectural Association’s competitions, sat in the AR Emerging Architects Award 2006 jury and is a frequent lecturer at architects’ schools, universities etc. world wide.

Molde Theatre design : 3XN

Location: Molde, Norway

Norwegian Architecture

Contemporary Norwegian Architecture

Norwegian Architectural Designs – chronological list

Oslo Architecture Tours by e-architect

Molde Theatre entry by Keith Williams Architects

Norwegian Timber Buildings

Molde Jazzhouse competition entry : Keith Williams Architects

Norwegian Architect Office

Also by 3XN in Norway : Buen Mandal + Tangen Polytechnic College

Knut Hamsun Center by Steven Holl Architects

Molde Theatre architect : 3XN

Molde Theatre and Jazz-house info from 3XN Architects 031207

Comments / photos for the Molde Jazzhouse Architecture – Plassen Cultural Centre page welcome

Visit Norway