Architect Espen Surnevik built a church on the site of a burned down 19th century church
February 14, 2019
Kirche Våler stands on the site of an old stave church that burned to the ground in 2009. It was designed by the Norwegian architect Espen Surnevik, who won an international competition. His concept was noted for the harmonious combination of elements of the historical past and futuristic architectural forms.
“The main idea of Christianity – from death to resurrection – formed the basis of my project,” Surnevik explains. The entrance to the church is on the same axis as the entrance to the old church of 1860, of which only the foundations of the stone walls in the center of the cemetery have been preserved. The interior space is divided into four squares, where the main hall and the baptistery are located, surrounded by administrative offices and public spaces. This arrangement, along with protruding cantilever bay windows on the north, south, east and west parts of the facade, directly refers to the shape of the cross.
The facade of the church is finished with pine wood, which tends to darken over time. According to the architect's plan, it needs to be updated every 50 years – this will symbolize the new revival of the church. The two main spaces in the church are marked by pyramidal roofs 24 and 12 meters high. The roof is crowned with a window opening, which serves as a visual metaphor for turning to the sky. The walls are lined with birch plank: light wood combined with high ceilings makes the space airy. content/uploads/2022/02/4b85967ce65f566243a5b5f3ee1c416d.jpg” width=”728″ height=”935″ class=”lazy-image__image _align-center” data-v-0571743d=”1″ alt=”Oddly shaped wooden church in Norway (photo 8)” />
Surnevik invited artist Espen Dietrichson to work on the project. The main result of this collaboration was 28 unusual windows in the northeast part of the church. “Working with natural light has become our main task,” says the architect, “Light symbolizes hope and victory over the darkness that arose after loss.” www.espensurnevik.no