3XN : ‘Buen’ Cultural Housing


An MNP favorite, 3XN [featured as architecte de la semaine a while back] has proposed a masterplan for a cultural center and new residential units in Mandal, Norway – entitled “Buen” [the arch]. The project is described by 3XN as ‘a green blanket that elevates and makes room for the cultural center, and thus integrates it in the surrounding landscape‘.


The masterplan focuses on reflecting the characteristics of the ‘classic’ Norwegian wooden house, through the scale and proportion of the stepped housing units. The cultural center is pushed towards the water, opening up to the rest of Mandal on the other side of the river.


The undulating roof of the cultural center appears as a rolling hill, sloping upwards from the landscape – giving residents and visitors a usable, central outdoor space on the waterfront. This allows for the the center to occupy the land right on the water, without blocking access to the views and waterfront pedestrian experience. Underneath this artificial hillside the center will contain a café, library, gallery spaces, and [I believe] the hotel restaurant. The design also incorporates a hotel into the plan – giving guests easy access to the center’s library + exhibitions, and therefore further insight into the local culture.


Whereas the cultural center is a signifier of the area, the hotel and the surrounding housing form a coherent low-dense area referring to the scale of the town. The master plan tries to keep motoring traffic at a minimum and establish instead the narrow pathways and greens characteristic of the garden city [via 3XN].


I’ve got to admit, I’m not really sold on the ‘ticky-tacky boxes‘ feel of the housing – seems like something that sounds like a good idea [sort of], but wouldn’t play out all that wonderfully. That being said – the cultural center itself is pretty siiick – and that’s pretty obviously the strength of the project. I really like the idea of a public building that doesn’t take away from public space – but instead becomes both.

More 3XN on architecture.MNP:

Danish Light*house
3XN: Tangen VGS
3XN: Museum of Liverpool
3XN: Thor Heyerdahl VGS
3XN: architecte de la semaine

::All images + info from 3XN’s website::

Posted: January 14th, 2008
at 10:51pm by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,green arch,housing,urban/master planning,featured ninjas

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