Photos courtesy of Hundven Clements Photography and LINK
Aalgaard is a small town north of Stavanger in Norway. The main design challenge was combining a significant number of functions under one roof. It required a classroom, an office, a café and areas for younger people, without negatively affecting the character or function of the Nave.
This was done by partially lowering the ground floor into the terrain, leaving the sacral space undisturbed on the upper floor.
The church’s structure is the result of combining a square and a triangle. Within Christianity the triangle symbolises the holy Trinity.
The square symbolises Earth, with the four corners of the world.
The main processional axis is placed diagonally to the square, dissecting the plaza, stairs, foyer, continuing into the Nave, and terminating at the Altar.
The wooden façade and the roof is finished in white resembling a tent canvas. This creates a light, pliable structure which is lifted to accentuate the entrance and allow natural light inside.
The roof’s triangular skylights are a modern inter- pretation of a traditional church vault also allowing natural light to enter the Nave.
The main structure consists of Glulam beams, arranged to create a network of triangles exposed on the ceiling of the Nave. A staircase spreads like a fan from the main entrance, welcoming people into the church.
The shape inspired the local Bishop to name Aalgaard Church “the church with open arms”.
Photos courtesy of Rasmus Norlander
The open international competition for Våler church is one of the largest in Norway ever, with 239 proposals from 23 countries. The competitions winner proposal was finished in spring 2015.
Våler is a small village along the Glomma River.
The churchyard is one of the few planned areas of the town centre, and when the old 19th Century church burned down in 2009, people felt the loss very keenly.
The all but impossible task of the new church was to recreate the lost space as a frame for significant events in local people’s lives.
The buildings expression was generated as a direct response to the place, and organised around a quadrant with four oriels pointing north, south, east and west, as an analogy to the old cross-church.
The main story of the liturgy has become the narrative of the church: from fire to resurrection. The new church is placed on the existing processional axis, and clad in straight board of heartwood pine, reflecting the local forest landscape. The natural facades have a long local tradition. Due to climate they slowly get darker before ending up going back to nature. Every fifty years the façade-wood will be renewed and the church will resurrect as new for every new-born generation.
The interior is covered in birch plywood. The artistic elaboration in the interior seeks to “eradicate” the reality of the loadbearing structure and achieve an expression of lightness. The towers mark the main liturgical spaces, the church hall and the baptistery, rising from a common cast concrete plinth, the “bedrock” of the church.
The footprint of the old cross-church, were made into a memorial as a big grave in the middle of the old graveyard. Behind the memorial the new church rises up. The new church is built as a cultural arena, and open minded gathering-place for the whole community of Våler.