have created what they describe as a "new type of public space" in Groningen, Netherlands, filled with books, images, exhibition spaces, movie halls, assembly rooms and restaurants.
The design for Forum Groningen
was first developed for a competition run by the local municipality in 2006, running out the winner.
It has now finally been brought to fruition, with a form that is at once monolithic, carefully crafted and contemporary.
A single volume covers 17,000sq m (183,000sq ft), with different angles cut away to create a sculptural shape and a variety of different appearances.
Inside, the building is based around a large central atrium that links different spaces and it features a series of stacked squares that can be seen as a continuation of the city's public spaces. It is topped with a roof terrace, a viewing platform and outdoor theatre.
"Forum Groningen features an exceptional central space, an innovative atrium that with its horizontal ‘tentacles’ forms the pumping heart of the venue," explained NL Architects. "The void works as a spatial interface that binds all functions, movie theatre, book collection, expo, auditorium, and as such hopes to catalyze the exchange of knowledge and ideas."
The facility is designed to variously become "a platform for interaction and debate", be "a living room for the city" and facilitate "finding not searching” of cultural creations.
NL insist that the Forum is not a library, a museum or a cinema – and its description goes beyond that of an art or cultural centre alone.
It has been designed to dissolve the borders between those institutions and to present content "thematically in a way that transcends the different media."