Cast away in the deep pine forests of Värmland, Sweden, with Torsby as the nearest town, a museum emerges from the ashes of burned wood. The context marks the spot where Finnish migrants from Savonia and Northern Tavastia settled in the late 16th and early-to-mid-17th-centuries, and traditionally pursued slash-and-burn agriculture, a method used for turning forests into farmlands.

The Torsby Finnskog Centre is placed in this vast forest between Sweden and Norway -the cultural landscape of the forest Finns. The theme of the museum centers around their typical slash-burn agriculture, their alienation at the periphery of society and the rich cultural heritage they left behind as they eventually assimilated into the swedish culture.

The architectural project consists of two parts: the remodeling of the interior spaces of an old  primary school to house the new program and a new structure wrapping around it, signaling the new purpose of the building.

The existing school building was smutted black and covered with a veil of standing timber from the surrounding forest. The new facade was given openings for for entrances, sunlight and protruding boxes housing benches, signage and artwork. The design of the interior and exhibition refer to smoke, fire and young trees growing out of the ashes.

The wrapping strategy, not only branding the building and giving it a new appearance, also had a philosophical level. Rather than demolish and rebuild the museum the layering serves a purpose of telling a story of our common heritage. As the Finns came and added their cultural layer to the swedish they became part of creating a new whole. The architecture of the facade strives to work as a metaphor for that integration and reflect on our contemporary assimilation processes.

ClientVärmlands Museum
TeamAndreas Lyckefors, Per Bornstein, Johan Olsson, Elle-Kari Mannerfelt, Alexandra Lindberg, Monica Warwick, Victor Stansvik
LocationLekvattnet, Värmland, Sweden
PhotographyÅke E:son Lindman
  • Torsby Finnskogscentrum, Bornstein Lyckefors

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