Umeå Art Museum is located at the 15,000 m2 new Arts Campus at Umeå University in northern Sweden. The new campus also comprises the Academy of Fine Arts, the Institute of Design and the School of Architecture.
The consolidation of artistic institutes and exhibition facilities is based on a close collaboration between various companies with a view to allow art, design and architecture to benefit from one another.
Umeå’s position as a centre of art and education is strenghtened with a new silhouette by the Umeälven river. In its previous facilities, the museum has displayed international contemporary art and classic art-historical exhibitions side by side since 1981.
The new museum more than doubles the exhibition area and, with its protruding, visible location by the river, it will become a new landmark in the area.
The museum comprises three exhibition halls placed on top of each other. The large, square halls are free from load-bearing structures and are supported by four legs, with one leg placed on each side of the square rooms.
Around the exhibition halls, the legs create an outer, narrow gap towards the facades – a niche, which lets the cool sun and sky light pour into the space and merge with the warm artificial light.
In addition to the light effect, the niches allow for natural breaks from the artistic exploring, and the higher up you go, the more you are drawn towards the view of the river, city and landscape.
The four legs not only support the building but also serve as wells for all vertical movement: elevators, stairs, pipes and ventilation ducts. The entrance and foyer span across the three lower levels and comprise a museum shop, a children’s workshop and an auditorium.
A partly triple-high room serves to connect the spaces. As the other buildings at the Arts Campus, the facade features vertical louvres in Siberian larch, which supports its verticality – only broken by the large windows and the glass floor in the middle.
Umeå Art Museum wishes to attract international artists. This imposes high requirements on museum safety and climate control. The museum connects to the local district heating system and features maintenance-free materials.
Location: Umeå, Sweden
Architect: Henning Larsen Architects
Project Team: White Arkitekter, Tyréns, WSP Group, TM-Konsult
Gross floor area: 3.500 m2
Year: 2009 – 2011
Client: Balticgruppen AB