2016- | Frederiksværk, Denmark
Project: Building of new congregation hall
Client: The Parish Council of Frederiksværk og Vinderød
Sqm: 632 sqm
Architect: ELGAARD Architecture
Status: 2nd prize
Type: New build
Elgaard Architecture was invited by Frederiksværk and Vinderød Parish Council to participate in the architectural competition designing a new and contemporary parish hall in Frederiksværk. The congregation hall should be open, inviting and an active hub within the town. One of the key elements of the building is the centrally located hearth around which all functions are set out. The hearth is one of the strongest and most atmospheric elements creating and amplifying a sense of belonging and fellowship among people. Sitting by the fire is a good way finding comfort, opening your senses and wanting to stay for a while. Fire is one of the five elements and has always been an essential part of our lives. The hearth of the parish hall is located so it is visually experienced as the threshold of the forest overlooking the nearest part of Frederiksværk town.
By placing the new parish hall on the threshold, where the forest and town meet the stream on the sloping terrain, a rare possibility is created: making the relationship between building and landscape particularly strong and eventful.
The new main building is orientated north south on the site and has its own axis on the sloping terrain, becoming an architectural comment to the topography and the forest as the dominating landscape element in the background. The building complex is tied together by a masonry plinth on which the buildings sits. The plinth finishes in a stepping set of stairs, forming the transition between the terrain and the building itself.
The new main building is orientated north south on the site and has its own axis on the sloping terrain, becoming an architectural comment to the topography and the forest as the dominating landscape element in the background. The building complex is tied together by a masonry plinth on which the buildings sits. The plinth finishes in a stepping set of stairs, forming the transition between the terrain and the building itself. The western façade is marked with a central, heightened façade element emphasising the entrance next to it.
The building complex itself is made up of two building volumes: a smaller one storey flat roofed building and the main building – a rectangular-shaped house with a distinctive pitched roof, characterising the building as an easily recognisable shape within the building typology of the town.
The entrance is situated between the two building volumes and continues in a sky lit corridor, which towards the north culminates in a glazed partition providing access to the small tranquil courtyard north of the building.
On the forest side the landscape is incorporated as naturally as possible leading all the way up to the plinth, which is marked as a precise shape in the edge of the wood being raised one brick. Hereby the plinth creates a close encounter with the forest while the level change still marks the threshold to nature. Towards the parking area the set of steps invites you in and underlines the openness and kindness of the building.
Towards town, the present-day parking area is activated by planting a series of trees along the edge of Kirkegade bordering the parking area, amplifying the special connection and the direction of the street towards the entrance of the parish hall. A direct view is created from the church – the House of God – facing the new building complex – the congregation hall – where the hearth acts as point de vue from the street.
The hall is in its overall expression embedded in the tradition of the pitch roofed rectangular-shaped house, and at the same time a contemporary and modern due to the relationship between the glazed partitions, the volume of the roof, the choice of material and within the detailing. The rectangular-shaped house is a lightweight construction roofed with natural slate. The lower part of the building’s facades in the southern part will be in timber and glass, whereas the northern part executed in stripped timber cladding. The plinth and the one storey building, chimney and bay window will be built in heavy materials – preferably brick faced – underlining the relationship to the church.
The main building is in two stories enabling unifying most of the functions in a clear and easily understandable building volume. The scale of the building, with its ca. 40 meters’ length and ca. 9 meters’ height is larger than the neighbouring buildings around Kirkegade, entirely intentional as it supports the parish hall’s importance for the community and its relationship to the church at the other end of the parking area. The location, at the foot of the distinctive forest slope reduces the size of the building visually, allowing it to easily blend into the existing context.
The entrance is centrally located across from the kitchen, equally serving the professional areas of the building as well as the communal areas. On one side of the ‘living room’ the community hall is located and on the other side the church office. All communal spaces are located within the main building under the large pitched roof. Great care has been taken ensuring the sense of both formal and informal communities, among others the groups of volunteers caring for the people of the congregation and the professional communities at work, the groups preparing food in the kitchen and the open communities in the living room and on the terrace. The lower secondary building features all back of house functions: cloakroom, toilets, archives and storage facilities.
Besides community spaces: work stations, library, church office, minister’s study, office for organist and church servant, conversation space/meeting rooms and staff areas.
In the southern part of the building, the two main community spaces are located: the lounge with the fireplace and the great hall that are located around the hearth and the lower three-meter part of the facades are open towards the forest, the stream and the town. The floor is made up of the external masonry plinth being pulled into the building, softening the shift between the inside and the outside. In the hall, the pitched ceilings make the space suitable for larger events. The closed parts of the wall above the windows are utilised for projecting, decoration and for adjusting the acoustic performance of the space. The two spaces can be separated via two folding partitions that can be stored in niches within the walls when not in use. Solar shading and black out curtains are being built into the external wall’s soffit above the glazed partition as respectively external and internal roller blinds.
From both spaces, there is direct access to the terrace and the plinth on which the building sits, opening an opportunity to furnish the external spaces and using the outdoor facilities in conjunction with the halls. This way, from a visual and functional point of view, the inside and the outside merges in harmony. The spaces of the building are designed with a priority given to fundamental qualities such as good daylight, controlled visual connections, clear logistics, a simple architectural expression and a few durable materials in mind. The new building welcomes you by displaying itself as you approach it, it is easily navigable and can be understood by everyone.
The building has been designed so the ground floor primarily accommodates communal and public spaces, and first floor is intended for offices for the ministers and a space for conversation, where meetings of personal matters can take place in confidence.