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  COME VEDERE L'ARCHITETTURA CONTEMPORANEA HOW TO SEE CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE
COME VEDERE L'ARCHITETTURA CONTEMPORANEA HOW TO SEE CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE
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BUILDING
 
 
Nordlyskatedralen
Cathedral of the Northern Lights
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DESIGNER
 
 
Schmidt Hammer Lassen
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DESCRIPTION
 
schmidt hammer lassen Cathedral of the Northern Lights AltaIn 2001, when the architecture competition for the Cathedral of the Northern Lights was arranged, the city council in Alta did not just want a new church: they wanted an architectural landmark that would underline Alta’s role as a public venue from which the natural phenomenon of the northern lights could be observed.

schmidt hammer lassen Cathedral of the Northern Lights Alta“The Cathedral of the Northern Lights is in its design a result of the surrounding nature and local culture. The building is a landmark, which through its architecture symbolizes the extraordinary natural phenomenon of the Arctic northern lights,” explains John F. Lassen, Founding Partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects. He continues: “The cathedral reflects, both literally and metaphorically, the northern lights: ethereal, transient, poetic and beautiful. It appears as a solitary sculpture in interaction with the spectacular nature.”

The significance of the northern lights is reflected in the architecture of the cathedral. The contours of the church rise as a spiralling shape to the tip of the belfry 47 metres above the ground. The façade, clad in titanium, reflects the northern lights during the long periods of Arctic winter darkness and emphasizes the experience of the phenomenon.

Inside the main area of the cathedral, the church room creates a peaceful contrast to the dynamic exterior of the building. The materials used, raw concrete for the walls and wood for the floors, panels and ceilings, underline the Nordic context. Daylight enters the church room through tall, slim, irregularly placed windows. A skylight lights up the whole wall behind the altar creating a distinctive atmosphere in the room.

The cathedral, which can accommodate 350 people in the church room, also has administration offices, classrooms, exhibition areas and a parochial area.
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MATERIALS
 
titanium, cement, wood
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LOCATION
 
Continent
Europe
Nation
Norway [Norge]
Region
Nord-Norge
County
Finnmark
Town
Alta
Address
Lekkeveien, Altaveien, Aronnesveien
 
 
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MAP
 
 
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TYPOLOGY
 
Main
ARCHITECTURE
Religious buildings
Churches and places of worship
Parochial centres
Additional
ARCHITECTURE
Buildings for cultural activities
Art galleries and exhibition areas
Education buildings
Schools
Buildings for offices and professional practises
Offices
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CHRONOLOGY
 
Project
2001     project winner of competition
Realisation
2009 - 2013
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CLIENT
 
 
Alta Kommune
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AMOUNT
 
 
€ 16,200,000
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DIMENSIONAL
DATA
 
Surface
sq.m. 1,917
Height
m. 47
Capacity
350 peoples
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STRUCTURES
 
 
Rambøll AS
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STAFF
 
Associate designers
Link Arkitektur A/S
Art intervention
Peter Brandes
General contractor
Ulf Kivijervi AS
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CREDITS
 
 
Photos © Adam Mørk
Drawings © schmidt hammer lassen architects
Text edited by schmidt hammer lassen architects
Courtesy by schmidt hammer lassen architects
schmidt hammer lassen Cathedral of the Northern Lights Alta


If you haven't already clicked on the photo strip at the top of the page, for the gallery of photos [10 images] and drawings [7 images], enter here
 
 
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