Bildmuseet (The Picture Museum) is a non-collecting museum of contemporary art and visual culture located in the city of Umeå, northern Sweden.
The museum, which is part of the Umeå University Arts Campus since 2012, is housed in an iconic wood-clad building designed by Henning Larsen Architects.
Due to its non-collecting nature, which makes it similar to what in German-speaking countries is called a Kunsthalle, the museum develops its mission through temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, photography, architecture, and design, as well as by organizing workshops, lectures, educational programs, seminars, film screenings, and live performances; thus promoting and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration between various forms of contemporary creativity.
Together with exhibition rooms, the building of the museum also contains an art shop, a library, and a cafe-restaurant.
Henning Larsen Architects, the architecture of the Bildmuseet Umeå
Umeå is a town of 80,000 inhabitants in Sweden, located 600 kilometers north of Stockholm. Elected European Cultural Capital for 2014, Umeå is the hometown of a number of prestigious Swedish universities.
Bildmuseet – center for contemporary arts and visual culture – is part of the Umeå Arts Campus, the largest university campus in town, which includes a School of Architecture, the Umeå Institute of Design, the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, the digital experimental workshop HumLab-X, and Sliperiet – an innovative business incubator for creative companies.
The Bildmuseet at the Umeå Arts Campus
Designed by Henning Larsen Architects, who also designed all campus’ buildings including the School of Architecture in 2009, the tall shape of the new museum, overlooking the Ume river, has quickly become a city landmark.
Photos by Johan Gunseus, courtesy of Bildmuseet
On 7 floor levels, the museum houses three exhibition halls, an auditorium, and a children’s workshop, together with visitor facilities and administration offices.
Cross-sections: image courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects
The bookshop and reception hall of the museum; photos Åke E:son Lindman, courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects
The exhibition halls – which are all square-shaped column-free spaces with an internal height of at least 5 meters – are surrounded by passageways running on their entire perimeter. Such corridors, conceived as relaxing areas located between the exhibition space and the building façade, also function as a filter for the natural light entering the museum’s galleries while, at the same time, providing panoramic views of the beautiful landscape around.
Photos Åke E:son Lindman, courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects
Like all other buildings in the Arts Campus, the Bildmuseet exterior is clad in Siberian larch; the wood texture accentuates and underlines the verticality of the building, where the only horizontal signs are constituted by the large windows and the traces of the floor slabs.
Left: photo Åke E:son Lindman, Right: photo Polly Yassin; courtesy of Bildmuseet
Photo Åke E:son Lindman; courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects
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