By: Holly Truitt, Director of The University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area
Today team spectrUM – as our grand finale in our quest to better understand the “culture house” model – had a delightful time at Dieselverkstaden (also known as Diesel) while others in the delegation visited another site. A newer culture house in the Stockholm area, it came recommended to us multiple times as we visited other sites across Sweden.
Situated in a former diesel engine warehouse, it is home to: a library that feels like a favorite bookstore; a cafe with one of the best coconut macaroons I’ve ever eaten; art, dance and ceramic studios open for community use; an indoor climbing gym; a museum; and a small co-working space and theater.
My colleague, Hannah, and I planned to stay for an hour or so, but ended up spending most of the day because it was such a lovely place to explore and linger. As spectrUM
thinks of ways to help to build a Culture House in Missoula, here are three winning concepts we think are worth replicating back home.
- On its vibrant main floor, it has a gallery with rotating art exhibition. Currently they’re displaying sculptures on a floor covered in butcher block for children of all ages to draw.We’re smitten with their approach of bringing together fine art and child- created art in one space.
- Those of us in the social sciences field think a great deal about creating third spaces – not home, not work, but a community space where you gather, connect and spend time. Diesel has hit a home run by creating a third place for its community in part because it has created ample space for gathering, meeting and connecting. At its heart is a cafe with great seating that was basked in sunlight throughout our stay. Plus, throughout the library, there were numerous small seating areas tucked among stacks, including a very sweet children’s reading area.
- By bringing so many partners and uses under one roof, they have created a rich environment with a hook for all learners, who likely come for one thing and stay to explore an array of other interests, including many that are new. As a result, each moment during our stay buzzed with energy and activity.