New cultural quarter including a cinema and library in Harstad harbor


Cinema and library







Contact persons:

Alf Felberg og Magnus Sandberg Johansen


Kaarbø Utvikling AS 

The Kaarbø quarter will complement and expand Harstad city center, adding renewal and much-needed qualities to the city. By placing a new, contemporary library and a modern cinema facility in the natural extension of Fjordgata southwards from the city center, Harstad achieves the urban development the city needs. The previously closed shipyard area will open up to the city’s population and facilitate communication for pedestrians and cyclists between the current city center and the newly developed urban areas to the south. The new cultural square will become a natural stopping point on the “Path along the sea”.

By establishing a cinema and library in the Kaarbø quarter, a cultural hub is created in the southern part of the city center, complementing the cultural center in the north. This way, Harstad becomes a comprehensive cultural hub. The cinema and library established in the Kaarbø quarter will turn the area and the new square into a natural meeting place. This, in turn, will create the basis for the establishment of restaurants, cafes, and vibrant public life. A showroom/exhibition center, also under planning, will harmonize well with the cinema, library, and educational offerings in the vicinity. These synergies, along with the new hotel and apartments, will provide the city center with good and forward-looking qualities.

The cinema building with 4 forward-looking theaters of varying sizes is strategically placed vis-à-vis the old shipyard gate, well visible from the intersection of Fjordgata/Verftsgata. The cinema facility is designed as a compact, efficient, and user-friendly complex where the theaters are exposed in the facade facing the new square, inviting visitors to an immersive experience. Based on the building’s main form, the main theater protrudes and cantilevers over the entrance area, thus announcing the building’s function. The cinema building will be a landmark for the site and the city.

The cinema will have a commercial and appealing kiosk and ticketing area directly accessible from the square. From the kiosk and lobby area, the audience will be quickly and efficiently guided through a centrally located checkpoint to the cinema’s inner lobby with simple and easily understandable distribution to the various theaters, creating a virtual atmosphere.

The library will be located between the two historic shipyard buildings, the Foundry and the Administration building. With the Foundry as a cultural arena, the Administration building as an activity center, and the cinemas opposite, this location will provide the library with good and convenient opportunities for shared use. Adjacent rental spaces in the same building as the library will provide expansion possibilities and synergies with galleries and cafes, for example. The library will occupy the lower floors of the building, which will be named the Ragnhild Kaarbø Building. The building’s color scheme is inspired by her palette. Establishing the library in this building could be Harstad’s opportunity to honor the city’s now recognized artistic native. The library will be designed according to the latest trends and ideas in library design.

The library building will have a rational and flexible facade expression. The building will feature a covered arcade facing the square, creating a shared forecourt with and towards the Administration building.

Towards the Foundry building, the library building also steps back, as a gesture to accommodate the continued existence of the existing building. At the same time, the library building appears as a modern, independent quality building.

For both buildings, the choice of materials and design is based on sustainability, environmental, and energy considerations. The main materials in the exterior will be glass, aluminum frames, and plaster systems with high aesthetic qualities. The color palette consists of earth tones, reflecting the area’s industrial history. Wood will be used in the entrance areas to create a warmer and more inviting atmosphere. The square will be designed and furnished as an appealing and user-friendly meeting place where traces of the former shipyard operation are preserved. Here too, durable materials of high quality will be used.