schmidt hammer lassen architects: cathedral of the northern light
‘cathedral of the northern light’ by schmidt hammer lassen architects, alta, norwayimage © adam mørkall images courtesy of schmidt hammer lassen architects
located approximately 500 kilometers north of the arctic circle, the ‘cathedral of the northern light’ by danish firm schmidt hammer lassen architectsin collaboration with local firm link arkitekter has been inaugurated and opened to the public. the town of alta is known as the ideal location for the viewing of thenorthern lights phenomenon, which meant the church was not only to function as a sacred place of worship but should also possess a commensurate architectonicquality that marks the town as a special place. taking cues from the elegant sinuous curves of the aurora borealis, the church is composed of a poetically windingconcrete sculpture epitomized into the 47-meter tall belfry tower. the titanium cladding is used to reflect and further accentuate the visual effects of the dancing glowin the dark arctic sky. the interior is characterized by exposed concrete walls and warmer touches of wood that reflect nordic architecture. vertical slit windowsplaced at irregular intervals offer views of the exterior like slices that span from ground to sky, and also let in a certain quality of light in the interior. the program contains the main church room with room for up to 350 people, classrooms, exhibition areas, a parochial area, and administration offices.
image © adam mørk
approach to the churchimage © adam mørk
(left) entry walkway(right) detail of the 47-meter tall belfry towerimage © adam mørk
glow through the vertical windows, with ice sculptures lining the entry walkwayimage © adam mørk
amidst a backdrop of northern lightsimage © adam mørk
church roomimage © adam mørk
image © adam mørk
floor plan / level 0
floor plan / level 1
architect team: schmidt hammer lassen architects, link arkitektur a/sclient: the municipality of altaarea: 1,917 m²construction sum: €16.2 millioncompetition: 2001, 1st prize in restricted architecture competitionstatus: construction period 2009 – 2013engineer: rambøll as, altamain contractor: ulf kivijervi asart work: peter brandes
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