Originally designed by architect Ketil Ugland in 1937, the Historic Knubben Bath was used by Arendal Swimming Club for diving competitions, swimming training and other aquatic activities. In 1947, the harbor bath closed its doors before being taken back into use during the 1960s, this time as a jazz club. The Knubben bath is "one of the clearest examples of functionalistic architecture in Norway" and "a small yet elegant example of the modernist spirit".
In 2018, Snøhetta was commissioned to revitalize the facility. While the original idea was for the harbor bath to be restored to its original glory, it became clear that the facility would need major modernization in order for the site to become a multi-use site for more than just aquatic activities. Therefore, the new part of Knubben will rise as a structure founded on steel core piles, further broadening the expanse and possibilities of the island.
Snøhetta's proposal tries to honour the location with a new structure inspired by the landscape of the southeastern Norwegian coast and stone shaped by the last glacial period. The new structure will sit on steel core piles and be built in horizontal layers that look like the contour lines on a map. To withstand the coastal conditions and create a monolithic look, it will be built largely from concrete.
Expected to complete in 2024, the facility will accommodate an open-air stage alongside a sculptural amphitheater, creating a setting for all kinds of performances. In addition, Knubben will house indoor areas for both a restaurant and more intimate concerts.