Picture by Henning Larsen

As Denmark’s new modern monument to be built in wood, Henning Larsen‘s Ørestad Church reflects the nature of Ørestad’s open landscape, embracing the community and its surroundings, where the activities of a community house and a traditional church are shared under one roof. Over 2,100 m², the new Ørestad Church offers a distinct architectural landmark, emerging in an open landscape and an area of Copenhagen known for its expressive architecture. The church will be the first new-build in Copenhagen for 30 years. The vision for the new church is inspired by the light of nature, the changeability of the forest and the open space of the community. Ørestad Church is a new kind of church that opens like a forest edge from several sides, evoking a meeting place at the clearing in the trees that invites, protects, and welcomes people in. The church’s inverted façade design creates projections within the deep church walls forming an evocative meeting space for the community. The church opens to the living world and creates inner spaces with room for peace and fellowship. Featuring wooden roof domes through which light filters in, the chapel is bathed in light from above and opens to a view of the sky welcoming people to gaze up. The church hall becomes a clearing in the forest, where light is refracted in many ways throughout the day and year. The light of nature, together with the height of the hall, creates the grandeur and atmosphere for diverse civic, cultural, and spiritual programming. Like tree bark, the church’s facade is rough and changes character with the seasons. It is activated on all sides and provides an urban shelf with seating niches, a book exchange, a drinking fountain, and insect hotels. Ørestad Church’s design embeds modern concepts of social sustainability into its core: community engagement informed the church’s design and programming. In addition to accommodating a range of services and ceremonies, the church will also house a chapel, a shielded courtyard, a church office, and informal cultural spaces that can be used for communal eating, small concerts, yoga, dancing, or lectures.
Inspired by the open landscape and forest of Hans Tausen’s Parish, nature intertwines to become part of the architecture of the new church: the landscape consists of grasses, herbaceous perennials, and cherry trees echoing the nature of Amager Fælled, a protected area nearby. Like cloister gardens, the church’s building protects the courtyard: a quiet garden, with flowering perennials and a single slender tree. The planting helps to mark the change of seasons and the shady corners give way to a garden where visitors can sit for quiet reflection. Read more on Henninglarsen.com