Henning Larsen unveils its new design for a 'modern monument' in Copenhagen

Henning Larsen
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Henning Larsen has announced their recent commission to design a new church in Copenhagen — the Danish capital’s first in over 30 years.

Set amongst a clearing of trees in a forested area, the Ørestad Church is designed to be a communal gathering nexus that "offers solace" to parishioners and is "untouched by the bustle of the city," according to Global Design Director Jacob Kurek.

Made of wood and wood shingle, the 18,837-square-foot (1,750-square-meter) church is said to reflect the open landscape and expressive architecture found in Ørestad.

A linear arrangement of clustered volumes aims to reference the treeline of a forest when approached from the adjacent Amager Fælled, a nature reserve in Copenhagen.

The design's inverted facade creates an "urban shelf" activated by seating niches, gaming areas, and a book exchange that was included as the result of community consultation.

The facade's rough, "bark-like" texture is said to change along with the seasons. The structure itself shields a cloister-like interior courtyard that is flooded with natural light from a well-placed opening above.

From its interior, the chapel area and clerical offices are placed in the center of community spaces that can again be customized for different uses as yoga rooms, small concert venues, dining rooms, or lecture halls. Natural light bathes the interior while drawing the viewer's gaze further "up to the heavens."

The firm’s Design Director, Nina la Cour Sell, says the goal was to "create a sustainable church that is completely its own and contributes to Ørestad's tradition of experimenting with the built environment." The project will complement the forthcoming Højvangen Church in Skanderborg, another addition to Henning Larsen's portfolio of religious designs.

The winning competition entry was selected by a panel of professional judges and Islands Brygge Parish Council members, shared the firm. Construction is expected to start in 2024, with hopes for a consecration sometime in the year 2026.

Henning Larsen unveils its new design for a 'modern monument' in Copenhagen