2015-2016 | Copenhagen, Denmark
Client: Frederiksberg Parish Church Council
Project: Restoration and refurbishment
Status: In process
Architect: ELGAARD Architecture
Type: Full Service Consultancy
Engineer: Edouard Troelsgård A/S
Acoustics: Anders Gade
M&E: Kasper Jørgensen
ELGAARD Architecture has been appointed as client consultant for Frederiksberg Parish Council working on the restoration and refurbishment of the interior of Frederiksberg Church. Our proposal for the refurbishment of the church’s main space rises from functional as well as aesthetic ambitions of the client and as a result hereof the desire that the future church to a great extend continues to support the community, the democratic institution, and the individual experience of the word, allowing it to project itself.
Frederiksberg Church was inaugurated in 1734, built in baroque style and is designed by the Dutch architect Felix Dusart. The altar, pulpit and organ have been added in the 1750s and are – as Christian’s Church on Christianshavn – pietistic in its layout featuring the pulpit situated in the centre of the altar wall. Frederiksberg Church has seen numerous refurbishments and extensions throughout its history, and the central church space stands today vague in its expression. One can argue whether the various refurbishments throughout the years have taken a stand on what, why and how much the space could tolerate.
Our refurbishment of the church’s main space has its focus on three spatial elements; gallery, pews and flooring. The interrelationship between those elements has been influenced by the refurbishments, which the church has seen over the years. The question rises as to when these elements last have been considered in context with one another leading us back to the build of the church, where the geometry of the pietistic central church space must be assumed to have been expressed far clearer than what we experience today.
The major intervention of the restoration of the church is to remove the first gallery, which was added c 45 years after the inauguration due to a shortage of seating. Today the church counts 679 seats of which only 322 have unrestricted view of the pulpit and the altar. This is the function-based reason for removing the first gallery, which at the same time improves the architectural expression of the central church space. Besides the improved view of the altar and pulpit from the seating on ground floor, this intervention will also improve the amount of daylight within the church significantly.
The existing pews, which were added as part of a radical refurbishment of the church in 1864 will be remodelled to obtain a higher level of comfort. We do not have knowledge of the design of the original pews, but we are familiar with their layout/design, which reflects the pietistic mind-set having an uninterrupted octagonal seating layout in the middle of the floor. ‘Tastefully worked out and in beautiful harmony with the church’s exterior architecture’, as Jan Steenberg describes it in the work of reference Danmarks Kirker (The Churches of Denmark). The octagon was at the time of the church’s inauguration highly respected and practised in the church’s interior.
All surfaces will be refurbished according to the reports from the National Museum of Denmark. The altar table and kneeler will be reused with new surfaces, upholstery etc. as well as the altar including the pulpit will be restored by a conservator.