The art museum functions as the center of the campus, creating a perfect frame for recreational spaces or a visit to the café, the exhibitions or the library. The buildings appear separate, each with an individual identity. However all four are inspired by both the town itself as well as the surrounding nature, thus creating an architectural synergy.
The campus connects to the center of Umeå, and the block structure of the town – which marks a strong sense of identity for Umeå – is continued in both the overall layout and in the smaller details. The positioning of the buildings and their regular square or rectangular shapes, mimes the gridded streets of the town, connecting the new campus with the historic town.
As the town is located above the river, the buildings are placed at a level between these two on a shared base that physically unites the buildings. This building base, that contains all common amenities, runs parallel with the beach promenade. Through the close positioning of the buildings, intimate spaces and alleys are shaped, continuing the scale of the town towards the riverbank, emphasizing the connection to the nature while also underlining the contrast between culture and nature.
The aesthetic expression of the entire campus also derives from the surrounding nature, the river and the forest. The facades are clad with continuous wooden pallets, referencing the birch woods and the timber strewn on the river. Use of concrete and ashlar references the rocks and mountains of the Swedish landscape.
Nature has become a source for sustainable strategies as well. The intense insulated exterior walls are perforateded with square windows in different hights and sizesfiltering the often low-hanging sun and giving light to the interieur in a modulated variation.