schmidt hammer lassen architects: cathedral of the northern light
original content
feb 11, 2013
schmidt hammer lassen architects: cathedral of the northern light


‘cathedral of the northern light’ by schmidt hammer lassen architects, alta, norway
image © adam mørk
all 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 architects
in 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 the
northern lights phenomenon, which meant the church was not only to function as a sacred place of worship but should also possess a commensurate architectonic
quality 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 winding
concrete 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 glow
in the dark arctic sky. the interior is characterized by exposed concrete walls and warmer touches of wood that reflect nordic architecture. vertical slit windows
placed 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 church
image © adam mørk

 

 


(left) entry walkway
(right) detail of the 47-meter tall belfry tower
image © adam mørk

 

 


glow through the vertical windows, with ice sculptures lining the entry walkway
image © adam mørk

 

 


amidst a backdrop of northern lights
image © adam mørk

 

 


church room
image © adam mørk

 

 


image © adam mørk

 

 

 


site plan

 

 


floor plan / level 0

 

 


floor plan / level 1

 

 


section

 

 


section

 

 


elevation

 

 


elevation

 

 

 project info:

 

 

architect team: schmidt hammer lassen architects, link arkitektur a/s
client: the municipality of alta
area: 1,917 m²
construction sum: €16.2 million
competition: 2001, 1st prize in restricted architecture competition
status: construction period 2009 – 2013
engineer: rambøll as, alta
main contractor: ulf kivijervi as
art work: peter brandes

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