schmidt hammer lassen architects wins competition for Vendsyssel Theatre and Experience Centre

As part of a team, schmidt hammer lassen architects has won the competition to design Vendsyssel Theatre and Experience Centre in Hjørring, Denmark. With this 4,200 square metre building, Hjørring gains a vibrant cultural hub in which to feature the city’s various cultural activities.

The winning design was submitted by a team including schmidt hammer lassen architects, Arkitektfirmaet Finn Østergaard, Brix & Kamp, ALECTIA, Gade & Mortensen Akustik, AIX Arkitekter, Filippa Berglund scenography, and LIW Planning.

The architectural ambition for the new Theatre and Experience Centre has been to create a building which blends into the surrounding environment while standing out as a new, vibrant organism in the city.

John Foldbjerg Lassen, Founding Partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects said:

“We have designed a project where the architectural and functional concept has five main themes: integration in the city, openness, functionality, flexibility and materiality. We have designed a significant building which relates to its function in a pragmatic way. It invites both active use and quiet breaks. It is a building which radiates its cultural meaning – it dares to be different, without stealing the focus from the existing qualities in the city.”

The Theatre and Experience Centre consists of a complex of buildings – a city within the city. Its characteristic corten steel façade, with its warm rusty red colours, corresponds well with the area’s existing plaster and brick façades; thereby creating an aesthetic whole between the city, the front plaza and the theatre building.

A vibrant building with a glimpse of the backstage

Inside, an open plan solution ensures visual and physical connections across the building. The boundaries between publicly accessible areas and the more traditional theatre functions are blurred.

In the building layout special attention has been paid to making sure that all functions can operate optimally. At the same time many areas can be joined and the circulation areas can be used as backstage facilities.

Rasmus Kierkegaard, Associate Partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects said: ”

The open plan ensures a high level of flexibility in the building, and only your imagination sets the limit for where and how the theatre productions can take place. Actors and staff are visible to the visitors in the building, and the building will appear vibrant even with only a few persons present.”

Completion of Vendsyssel Theatre and Experience Centre is expected in 2016.

schmidt hammer lassen architects has many years of experience with designing cultural buildings. The studio is currently finishing the new concert and congress centre, Malmö Live, in Malmö, Sweden. This building will be finished during summer 2015. In Shanghai, China, the studio is working on a 15,000 square metre performing arts centre in the Xuhui area. In spring 2013 schmidt hammer lassen architects won the competition to design the New Cultural Centre and Library in Karlshamn, Sweden.


Architect team:
schmidt hammer lassen architects
Arkitektfirmaet Finn Østergaard A/S

Municipality of Hjørring


Construction sum:
€16.5 million excl. VAT

2013, 1st prize in restricted competition

Full-service consultant:
schmidt hammer lassen architects

Brix & Kamp A/S

Landscape architect:
LIW Planning Aps

Other consultants:
Gade & Mortensen Akustik A/S
AIX Arkitekter AB
Filippa Berglund, scenograf, arkitekt maa