The Multicultural House

The Multicultural House (in Danish, 'Multikulturhuset') connects the past with the future, the city with the water and culture with learning. It highlights the development of Sønderborg's waterfront by bringing together several of the city's cultural institutions (including Sønderborg Library and Southern Jutland’s Art School) and transforms the former industrial harbour into a recreational part of the city.
The cultural centre is an important part of the realisation of Frank Gehry's master plan for Sønderborg's waterfront. With its close proximity to both the waterfront and the historic city centre, the building inscribes itself within a particular context. It thus directs itself 360 degrees towards the city and harbour, while engaging with the surrounding buildings – particularly the old Ewer’s Warehouse, which has been preserved and integrated as a natural part of the cultural centre and its many internal functions.
As a counterbalance to the many internal functions, the cultural centre is based on a simple and clear concept. It is based on one single unit that rotates on its own axis. The unit’s rotation allows for a dynamic, sculptural design that opens up the cultural centre from several angles, working as a cog in Frank Gehry's master plan for the waterfront.
The surroundings have been highly influential in shaping the cultural centre. This applies not least to Ewer’s Warehouse, which is, as previously mentioned, integrated as a natural part of the cultural centre. The old warehouse and the new part of the cultural centre harmonise in terms of material and scale, while a transparent middle building links the two elements as a single social and functional unit.
In many ways, the middle building expresses the essence of the cultural centre’s fundamental objective, i.e. to connect. Located in the field of tension between the warehouse and the new part of the cultural centre, the middle building literally connects the past with the future. With its transparent design, it also connects the city with the water, just as it connects the cultural centre’s functions across its floors.