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Henning Larsen designs church that can be new gathering place in Skanderborg, Denmark

Denmark Architecture News - Jun 01, 2021 - 15:27   2426 views

Henning Larsen designs church that can be new gathering place in Skanderborg, Denmark

Scandinavian architecture practice Henning Larsen has won an international competition to design a church in Skanderborg, Denmark

The winning project, called Højvangen Church, was selected from among proposals from Friis & Moltke Architects, E + N Arkitektur and Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter. 

A judging panel consisting of both professional judges and members of Skanderborg Parish Council unanimously selected Henning Larsen's proposal as the winner of the competition.

Covering a total of 1,500-square-metre area, it will be the first church to be built in Skanderborg Parish in over 500 years. Through its form and geometry, the new church will be a new public gathering place in the growing residential area of Højvangen in Skanderborg, Denmark.

Henning Larsen designs church that can be new gathering place in Skanderborg, Denmark

Church hall

Henning Larsen's design scheme has been designed as a tribute to the local landscape and the Danish building tradition, while also expanding the traditional functions of a church experience. 

As the team noted, the Højvangen Church will have flexible spaces that can form a backdrop for both religious ceremonies as well as community events that will inspire new ways of using the church and expand its typical functions. 

"With the new church in Højvangen, we want to be true to the theological tradition and at the same time reinterpret the church as a destination for present and future needs; a place that can accommodate both everyday life and celebrations, joy and mourning across generations," said Henning Larsen partner Nina la Cour Sell. 

From the outside, the building acts as a squared pavilion, connected to the already existing church center through a partially underground corridor. 

"Contrary to the traditional church nave, Højvangen has no apparent front or back," said Henning Larsen. 

"Rather, the baptismal font in the middle is the only permanent fixture, forming a natural center from which there is a view of the forest, the church tower, the cemetery, and the existing church building." 

Featuring a large square church room, it can be adapted to house a range of events, with varying degrees of intimacy and openness enabled by the angled wall design. 

Henning Larsen designs church that can be new gathering place in Skanderborg, Denmark

View from foyer

For material choice, Henning Larsen will use traditional materials such as brick, oak and brass to create a peaceful and timeless atmosphere, ensuring the church’s longevity in the community for generations.

The church’s façade is activated on all sides, with covered seating niches set into the colonnaded “backside” façade. 

From here, visitors and worshipers can take a secluded moment to seek peace, have a conversation, or just look out onto nature. The undulating façade changes in appearance according to the time of day and lighting conditions. Outside, a landscaped park and a courtyard provide space for outdoor activities and events for the local residents.

Henning Larsen designs church that can be new gathering place in Skanderborg, Denmark

Front view

The competition proposal has been made in close collaboration with Oslo architect Espen Surnevik, Schul Landskab and Rambøll

Henning Larsen draws on decades of experience designing churches and religious building in Denmark, including most recently at the Herlev Hospital Center for Contemplation and Faith, as well as Enghøj Church and the Ringsted Communal Crematorium.

Højvangen Church is expected to be opened on the 1st Sunday of Advent 2024.

All images courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects.

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