The interior of a new library and cultural centre in Vennesla, Norway, resembles that of a human with a metaphorical heart and ribcage at its centre.

The library’s core is filled with 27 prefabricated glulam strips that act as bookshelves and seating areas at ground level. They then flow into upwards over the windows and onto the ceiling to house lighting and ventilation devices. The result is a three-dimensional, geometrical ‘ribcage’ which is visible from the street.

Dubbed a ‘sustainable picnic building’ by Arkitektfirma Helen & Hard, the centre combines a library, meetings spaces and café. The new structure – with a rigid timber plank exterior and massive glass facade – rests next to two existing buildings, that house a cinema and educational facility.

‘The rigorous synergy between construction, infrastructure and furniture in one repeated element has created a unique public building,’ says architect Reinhard Kropf of Helen & Hard.

Photos courtesy Erieta Attali & Emile Ashley.