The Sara Cultural Center - a building at the highest level
The Sara Cultural Center will be one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings. But it’s not just
its height that makes it world-class. The design is a result of a local collaboration drawing
on unique expertise in wooden construction.
“It’s cross-border collaborations and competencies coming together at all levels,” says
Daniel Wilded, Business Developer at Martinsons byggsystem.
“... that there was a common sense in nature that held everything together, that trees, water, ants, bears, squirrels, crows and field mice all knew about each other? ...”
Just as Sara Lidman writes in The Iron Crown, a cultural center in Skellefteå should be the result of
a cycle and start from a life cycle perspective where everything is connected. The raw material, the
workforce and the local construction technology – most of it is sourced locally.
Martinsons is one of the companies that is involved in building the Sara Cultural Center. The company’s task is to deliver the framework for the building. The production is being carried out in Bygdsiljum, 60 km outside Skellefteå. Martinsons is using two materials: glulam (used for pillars and beams) and cross-glued wood in boards. In this way, one can first build up a skeleton structure that is then covered with boards to create walls, joists and ceilings.
Daniel Wilded stresses that local collaboration is a success factor in the project.
“The raw material is super-local to begin with. It’s timber from our forests around Skellefteå. Then
several of our subcontractors are local. It’s a great advantage and has been extremely effective.
Together we have the right skills and experience and can contribute lots of nifty solutions,” he
It’s no coincidence that many of the companies involved are located in and around Skellefteå, says
“Skellefteå is a wooden town for a reason. We have a solid history of wood knowledge and the timber industry, both carpentry and large-scale construction. Over the years, Skellefteå municipality has been a contributing factor to the development of the industry,” he says.
Assembly in Renholmen
Martinsons sends parts of the construction to Renholmen, north of Byske, where the Derome company is tasked with assembling finished hotel rooms. The factory is divided into different processes. One station lays floors, another does ceilings and a third paints. Finally, ready-made, square packages are sent to the construction site. Derome also finds strength in the local approach.
“We’ve noticed that the staff has grown from working on a local project. You feel proud to build a
one-of-a-kind building that will be located here” says Petra Eriksson, Business Manager at
In addition to Martinsons and Derome, a number of other local actors are involved in the project. The Burträsk-based company TK Botnia has served as designer and created the blueprints. Skellefteå Kraft is collaborating with ABB on a complete solution for the energy aspects of the building. Construction lifts from Alimak are being used in the construction.
Benefits wooden construction
Derome’s Petra Eriksson believes that the project can benefit wooden construction in Skellefteå.
“We take a very positive view of putting Skellefteå on the map. Being able to invite customers from
all over the world and show them what you can make out of wood – it’s an incredible thing. This
will be Skellefteå’s equivalent of the ice hotel is in Jukkasjärvi,” she says.
Daniel Wilded thinks that the construction of the Sara Cultural Center can be summed up in one
“This is a team effort. It’s a cross-border collaboration and competences coming together at every
stage. From clients to total contractors to suppliers. It’s not Martinsons that built this building —
we’ve done it together with many others,” he says.