© Architecturestudio NOAN

Tervajärvi forest chapel // Architecturestudio NOAN

Lempäälä, Finland

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Text description provided by the architects.

Tervajärvi forest chapelA small wooden chapel is now tucked away in the forest of the Tervajärvicampground. Built on a small budget, the project shows off wood constructionand volunteer spirit at their best.The Forest Chapel (Metsäkappeli) is a new addition to the Tervajärvi campground owned bythe parish of Lempäälä. The chapel will mainly serve as the camp church for confirmationcamps and as a venue for small weddings or christenings.As the assembly of the chapel was carried out by volunteers, professionals were entrustedwith the more demanding individual phases.

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

All the glulam parts, for example, cameprefabricated from a factory. The volunteer team’s commitment to the project and the closecooperation between the wood component supplier and the principal designer made itpossible to explore various design solutions and try them out on site.The architecture of the chapel is an interpretation of the evolving role of sacral spaces.Instead of institutional built symbols and their associated traditions, future church buildingscould be seen as being smaller sacral spaces that emphasize joy and communality, yet alsoafford consolation.

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

The form and proportions of the sacral building should convey themessage of a place that provides space for tranquillity.The single most important component of the forest chapel is the glulam timber roof truss.The design was based on a visually appealing structure inspired by the nature, a nearby lakeand ecclesiastical rituals.

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

Besides being visually striking, the glulam beam structure shouldplay the focal structural role. The architectural objective was to keep the cross-section of thecomponents in a harmonious proportion to their height. In the final design, the beams curvealong the length of the roof, acting as their own diagonal stiffening structure. Since notransverse structures were desired in the relatively small interior space, the corner joint hadto be moment-resistant.It was difficult to reconcile the appearance, structural function and cost-effective production.This required a lengthy development time with several rounds of comments.

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

To ensure thequality of the final result, structural models were made of the corner joint in the scale 1:1. Ittook four separate attempts to find the correct shape for the arcs.The glulam beam is formed of four 15 mm lamellas with a total cross-section of 60x 240 mm. The wood is Finnish spruce.

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

The wooden parts were manufactured industriallywithout having to sacrifice the precision and finish of the end result. The visual part of thecorner joints is a surface lamella that continues along the length of the roof. The structuralpart is inside the joint: a horizontal section that leads vertical loads downwards. Therotational stiffness of the joints was achieved by placing the screws in a circumferentialpattern.

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

The screw holes are plugged. All the rest of the structures are also designed so thatno fasteners are visible indoors.The chapel’s movable larch furniture, including the brass components, was custom designedfor the building and made to order by local carpenter Puusepänliike Hannes Oy. The jointsand other details of the furniture were developed in collaboration with the carpenter.“ Instead of institutional built symbols and their associated traditions, I see future churchbuildings as being smaller sacral spaces that emphasize joy and communality, yet alsoafford consolation.

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

The form and proportions of the sacral building should convey themessage of a place that provides space for tranquillity.”-Lassi Viitanen.

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

© Architecturestudio NOAN

Tervajärvi forest chapel Gallery

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