Holy Wood: This Majestic Norwegian Chapel is Covered in Pine, Inside and Out

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Taking inspiration from the dramatic spires of medieval Scandinavian churches, Oslo-based Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter created an astonishing chapel overlooking a Norwegian fjord, featuring folded timber surfaces inside and out. Impressive lengths of pine lumber provide a clean, modern and minimalist look for both the exterior and interior, all the way up to the pinnacle of the traditional stave.

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Built on a rocky slope overlooking the picturesque landscape of Knarvik in Hordaland, Norway, the Community Church features three triangular roof planes angling upwards from the base, their facets enhanced by the linear arrangement of timber. The pine was pre-weathered to encourage a mottled coloring and help the church blend in with its natural surroundings.

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On the outside, the strips of wood alternate with mirrored glass, which reflects the trees and sky onto the building. Thin slats of pine are also overlaid onto an oversized circular stained glass window.

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“Inspired by the local tradition of Norwegian stave churches, the building utilizes clear and elemental geometries, materials and constructions,” the architects say. “The church signals its functions with a sacral dignity and recognizable form, where the church spire, sanctuary and chapel are emphasized by ascending roof planes. The building permits daylight into its volume through lancet-reminiscent tall and narrow windows. At night, the warm glow of the interior reveals the activities of its religious and cultural events.”

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“The building is carefully adapted to an existing hillside between built and natural environment, providing the church with an inspiring context of the surrounding heath landscape.”

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