The construction of a groundbreaking architectural marvel is underway

In Northern Norway, Čoarvemátta, a new building will take place weaving together tradition, innovation, and sustainability to celebrate the rich heritage of the Sámi people.

Čoarvemátta, the visionary shared cultural and educational facility, represents a harmonious fusion of tradition, innovation, and sustainability, designed to celebrate and preserve the rich heritage of the Sámi community.

Unveiled as the winning entry by a collaborative team comprising Snøhetta, Econor, 70°N arkitektur, and artist Joar Nango, Čoarvemátta is not only a building but a testament to the enduring spirit of the Sámi people. Drawing inspiration from the symbolic significance of the innermost joint of the reindeer horn, the architectural design embodies the essence of Sámi culture—rooted in nature, craftsmanship, and storytelling.

Čoarvemátta (Norway) by Snøhetta, Econor, 70°N arkitektur, and artist Joar Nango

At its core, Čoarvemátta is envisioned as a nexus of cultural exchange, where the Sámi National Theater Beaivváš and the Sámi High School and Reindeer Husbandry School converge under one expansive roof. This convergence fosters collaborative synergies, seamlessly blending the realms of education, performing arts, and traditional handicrafts within a dynamic and inclusive space.

The architectural narrative of Čoarvemátta unfolds like a tale spun from the fabric of Sámi heritage. The exterior, reminiscent of a cloth enveloping a wooden frame, evokes the imagery of a lavvu—a traditional Sámi tent—symbolizing warmth, shelter, and communal gathering. These curved lines and organic forms not only pay homage to Sámi aesthetics but also ensure a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding landscape, mirroring the gentle contours of the natural terrain.

Central to the ethos of Čoarvemátta is the concept of the vestibule—a focal point designed to catalyze social interaction and cultural exchange. Here, amidst the warmth of flickering fireplaces and the aroma of traditional Sámi cuisine, visitors are invited to take part in handicrafts activities such as duodji, theatrical performances, and immersive storytelling experiences— creating a vibrant tapestry woven from the threads of Sámi culture.

Čoarvemátta (Norway) by Snøhetta, Econor, 70°N arkitektur, and artist Joar Nango
Čoarvemátta (Norway) by Snøhetta, Econor, 70°N arkitektur, and artist Joar Nango

Thus the designers affirm :“Gathering all functions under a generous roof, creating robust and specious rooms, we aim to facilitate synergies between building and users, theater and school, and architecture and landscape”.

Therefore the significance of Čoarvemátta extends beyond its architectural brilliance; it symbolizes a reclamation of cultural identity and resilience in the face of modernity. By integrating traditional Sámi knowledge systems with contemporary pedagogies and artistic expressions, the facility serves as a beacon of hope for future generations, empowering them to embrace their heritage with pride and dignity.

Moreover, the sustainability ethos embedded within Čoarvemátta reflects a commitment to environmental stewardship and indigenous wisdom. From locally-sourced materials to energy-efficient design principles, every aspect of the facility embodies the Sámi philosophy of living in harmony with nature—a timeless way of living that resonates with global efforts towards ecological regeneration and cultural preservation.

Čoarvemátta (Norway) by Snøhetta, Econor, 70°N arkitektur, and artist Joar Nango

As construction progresses on Čoarvemátta, excitement and hype increase within the Sámi community and beyond. It is not merely a building but a manifestation of collective dreams and aspirations—a tribute to the enduring legacy of the Sámi people, spanning centuries of resilience, creativity, and cultural vitality.

In the final analysis, Čoarvemátta transcends the boundaries of architecture; it is a living embodiment of Sámi cultural revival—a sanctuary where past, present, and future converge in a symphony of tradition and innovation. As its doors open to the world, may it serve as an enduring monument to the indomitable spirit of the Sámi people, inspiring generations to come with its message of unity, resilience, and cultural pride.


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