Status: Competition (2011)
Budget: 5.000.000 €
Scale: 950 ㎡ Small
Ratio: 5.263,16 €/㎡
Types: Church, Religious
This proposal for a new church in Våler, a small village in rural Norway, is situated alongside an existing chapel and the site of the previous church, which burnt down. A memory of the white volume of the old church is remade in the landscape through the planting of birch trees.
This memory garden orchestrates the approach to the new church, through the existing churchyard. The new building is raised above the landscape, echoing both the raised plinth of the existing chapel and the mound on which the original church was constructed.
The cruciform plan of the old church is clearly recalled within the form of the new but is then transformed to suit contemporary needs.
A large congregational space is made through the introduction of a single element of structure, a three dimensional cruciform of column and beam that stands as a figure within it. The arms of this cruciform extend to form apses which stand within the larger volume and which contain the choir, the sacristry and the altar.
Twelve smaller columns, or disciples, form the threshold from the entrance hall, into this congregational space.
Light enters the church through upper windows, which correspond to the four cardinal directions of N, S, E, W and would thus animate the church with shifting light throughout the day and the seasons.
These windows are the result of the relationship between the main cruciform volume and a series of ancillary pitched roof forms.
Externally the church has a simple clarity, with a tower which would animate the landscape and the approach to and from the village. Its bleached timber surfaces would complement the painted faces of the chapel and the white bark of the garden of birch trees.