The church in the small town of Våler in Norway burned down and a competition was held to build a new one. We joined the competition with the following entry.
It is in the rural church that the people in a village is experiencing its most emotional
moments; this is where the kids run out on the last day of school, it is here you get married and it is here you bid farewell to your loved ones.
When the church in the village went up in flames, it meant that an important function and a prominent landmark disappeared, it left a void which in a small village Våler becomes particularly apparent.
You can however be positive about the new opportunity that has occurred; that a new church to be built and that the village gets a well-much needed addition to their identity.
We imagine a wooden Scandinavian country church that will be situated on the edge of the site and that will be clearly visible from all over town.
The church consists of two parts: the church room and a lower part that lies around a tranquil courtyard. The church has two entrances: one main entrance and a smaller entrance on the back for smaller events. When you enter via the main entrance, you enter a church square in a direct connection with the church and with a courtyard view.
Here you reach the cloakroom, toilets and a vestry and further away in the building are the more private rooms located, like the priest’s room, and showrooms, which you can access from the lower entrance to the back.
The rooms in this wing are functional in a row with a corridor which overlooks the quiet inner courtyard.
From all the rooms you have a view over the grove of trees that lies behind the church.
The courtyard has a water mirror that parts the courtyard and almost all drainage of the house run down in the pond, which creates a small waterfall when it rains.
The nave is classically designed with a center aisle and the room can easily be divided for smaller gatherings. The idea is that although there is a small gathering, you still will experience the finest room.
The floors are an important part of the church and the rooms are defined by different woods and designs, more intricate for more impressive rooms.
The tower room, for example, has wide planks that follow the natural tree trunk angle and forming a radiating pattern from the center of the room.
The tower is the most important symbol of the church and it is here that the church is very different from other country churches. With a simple steel construction with wooden boards you get with a relatively small budget the world’s highest church.
If the budget does not allow, so the height can be lowered considerably without losing its character and still become Scandinavia’s tallest church, which now is Uppsala cathedral which was built about 1892 to a height of 118.7 meters.
The tower has small windows that go all the way to the crest and that let in light in the church room, and that spreads light around the countryside at night.
With a relatively simple approach Våler municipality can boast with a building that will both provide echo around the globe and revitalize the municipality and frame the many fond memories of the inhabitants of Våler.
+ All images and drawings courtesy Visiondivision