Making light work: grand designs at Bodø’s Stormen library and cultural centre | Travel


On the waterfront in the coastal town of Bodø, Norway, just north of the Arctic Circle, the £110m Stormen (storm) library and cultural centre stands out against the bland surrounding buildings.

Designed by London-based DRDH Architects, the modern cluster of cubist buildings have white concrete surfaces varying from matte to polished, and long windows that flood the interior with light. Much of the town was destroyed in a Luftwaffe attack in May 1940 but the rapidly built prefabricated homes and public buildings are now slowly being replaced by more permanent structures and Stormen, opened in 2014, takes pride of place.

The architects cited “the luminosity of the Nordic summer night” as an influence in the design, and chose the materials for their responsiveness to light conditions. The exterior subtly changes colour with the sky, radiating a pinkish glow with the setting sun.


Inside, a stunning broad timber staircase leads to the upper floor. There’s a striking, double-height library, whose orderly rows of books lead to a wall of glass with views of the harbour and open sea. Behind it, the concert hall building has several beautiful auditoriums.

The space has a calming and inspiring effect. Visitors can wander around and browse books in the reading room, and there are free lunchtime concerts in the first-floor bar. There’s free wifi, a children’s play area and a cafe – it’s an uplifting, peaceful retreat on any trip to the town.

Concert hall open (excluding performance times) Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat noon-3pm; library Mon-Thurs 8am-9pm, Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 10am-4pm, Sun midday-4pm, stormen.no



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