Sámi Cultural Center Sajos

Sámi Cultural Center Sajos

HALO Arkkitehdit Oy
Lappland, Inari, Finland
Project Year
Cultural Centres
Decopic Ltd, Mika Huisman

Sámi Cultural Center Sajos

HALO Arkkitehdit Oy as Architects

Sami Cultural Centre Sajos is located in northern Finnish Lappland, village of Inari, on the southern bank of river Juutua. Sajos is the centre of culture and administration for the Sámi, the only indigenous people in European Union.

On site plan the cultural centre is roughly shaped as a cross, wings dividing yards facing natural or man-made attractions in the vincinity. Yards connect the building to it's environment.

Functions are packed in their respective wings, leaving large flowing space as a lobby in the middle. There are eight organizations in the building, and many different functions: Most notable are the Sámi parliament hall, and an acoustically flexible auditorium capable of housing cinema as well as acoustical concerts. Both spaces have interpretation facilities. Building also houses a multipurpose hall, meeting rooms, restaurant, library, archives, audio-video studio and editing facilities, classrooms and offices.

The load-bearing structure is mainly concrete cast in-situ to facilitate reasonably complex geometry. Thermal insulation exceeds rigorous Finnish standards. To compensate for the remote location and large wood surfaces the building has a water-mist sprinkler system.

Use of wood was an evident choice for a building seeking to express Sámi culture. The facade is defined by massive vertical planks aligned to eavesline. They give the building monolitic character or varying degrees of transparency and detail depending on the viewing angle. The wall surfaces are clad in vertical boards or glass. All timber used for facade is spruce, treated with iron sulfate.

In the buildings interior wood also has an important role. The great, smoothly curving walls of auditorium and parliament hall that define the lobby are clad in horizontal, specially selected and treated pine boards for a luxurious feel of a handcrafted object. They contrast buildings rough and weathering exterior. From inside the parliament hall and auditorium have their visually and acoustically distinct characters.

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