valer church

  • project: architecture
  • client: Valer church parish, competition
  • design: Harmen van de Wal, with Raimonda Cibaite, Jiri Selek, Christine Sundberg
  • program: church
  • date: november 2011
  • location: Valer, Norway
  • An Open Ring in the Woods
    In commissioning the competition, the church of VĂ¥ler chose for a seldom witnessed step in church history, one that always comes with interesting results. Tapping on a source of collective creativity in modern architecture offers the chance to bring the development of church architecture to a new level. A building combining monumentality to accessibility, openness to spirituality, is awesome, while being friendly. In short: a church fitting in this time.

    The church building is designed for two important, but seemingly incompatable demands: the open character of the gathering space (Domus Ecclesiae), involving the church in the community, and the closed character of the spiritual, secluded space (Domus Dei), promising peace of mind. It is for that reason that the church will be placed as an open ring in a newly designed park. The ring, enclosing a patio, will be lifted on one side, giving people the opportunity to come in, without crossing a threshold. One is just there.
    Within the surroundings of the ring several spaces are collected unther a partly open roof. Outside, reachable through the ring shaped passageway wordly functions are positioned, such as the toilets, storage and technical spaces, but also the rooms for pastor and eldermen. That way their offices are also reachable from outside. The ruins of the old church will be cladded with granite and solar collectors. The old church warms the new that way.
    (open ring is derived from R. Schwarz)

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