KIRKE I SYDHAVNEN
Client: Parish Council of Copenhagen
Place: Copenhagen, Denmark
Area: 3,200 m2
Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Maider Llaguno, Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Ivaylo Nachev, Blanca Munoz, Irene Abellan, Federica Campeotto.
Gerard Reinmuth (Partner), Rodrigo Velázquez Bernabéu, Rolf Svendsen
Structure Engineering: Format Engineers, London
Sustenibility: Transsolar, Paris
Renders: Flashrender, Madrid
Our proposal for the Sydnhaven Church in Copenhagen aims to produce a unique space which takes advantage of the specificity of the location to produce a space which, while having the monumental serenity of more conventional religious spaces, will also have the quality of a collective assembly room for all citizens alike, much like old cathedrals used to be places of congregation which exceeded the simple demands of the liturgy. While the form of the cross is deeply embedded in the structure of the church space, our ambition is for the space to attain a non-denominational quality. Monumentality is in this sense the vehicle to provide the building with a significance which transcends cultural and creed divisions.
A Symbolic Space
The form of the main space is aimed to combine many images that are associated to spaces of cult and spiritual elevation.
On the one hand, the symbol of the cross has been deeply embedded in the form of the church’s envelope, rather than being applied as an ornamental figure. By doing so, the space of the church itself is basically a rectangular plate, lifted above the ground level, more akin to a basilical plan or a mosque, than to a cruciform cathedral. While the form of the cross is deeply embedded in the experience of the space, our ambition is to remove the ornamental elements in order to produce a space with a non-denominational mystique.
The need to complement the church space with a variety of community spaces has led us to place the church level elevated from the ground level, so that those functional spaces will be given a more direct access from the ground level, while raising the monumental space of the church over the functional socle. This will have two immediate effects on the experience of the space: on the one hand the mere act of climbing a flight of stairs to reach the level of the church will already add a certain solemnity to the space. On the other hand, the way in which the church has been designed will create a 360º view over the canals, maintaining a constant visual relationship between the religious space and the urban surroundings.
When the church hosts a charity canteen, the east part of the ground floor is used separately. The central space is divided by folded walls into a smaller one, next to the kitchen area and public toilets. The main access is located on the front side of the building, facing the river and the main bridge. If the fully glazed sliding doors are opened, the canteen can be extended to the loggia exterior space. Public toilets can be treated separately by locking them into their own lobby, where they can have either an interior or an exterior access.