In 2009 the old wooden church in Våler where lost in a fire. The loss of their two hundred year old wood church was a tragedy for the small local community. Placed in the middle of the pine forests in the eastern part of Norway, the local community decided to rebuild a new church built in wood. There where arranged an open architect competition which turned out to be one of the largest in Norway ever, with 239 proposals from 23 countries.
The project «en med to av tre» was chosen as the winner for the competition. Work where immediately initiated after the victory, and continued non-stop for three years until the new church was finished.
The main challenge in the project was to give the local community a meaningful church back. As a paradox the tragic loss of the old church gave the birth to a new beginning. The theme of the new church thereby became resurrection. Together with the artist, Espen Dietrichson, we worked with different designelements to manifestate the theme trough the project. The most important element is the work with daylight coming inn to the church from different daylightopenings. This symbolises hope, and that light defies darkness, after the tragic loss of the old church.
The project is cladded in core-pine on the outside, and in birch-plywood on the inside. This represents the huge pine- and birchwoods that surrounds the site, in which the project wants to belong. The core-pine is a natural and organic material which in the Norwegian climate gets its dark patina. Slowly the pine-cladding returns to nature, and every fifty years the cladding will be replaced and the church will be «reborn» for new generations.
The forms of the building is designed by strict geometric rules. The plan is quadratic and divided by a diagonal procession-axis going from a small Chappell, placed south, and over to the main churchroom placed north. Two towers are showing where the liturgics points are placed in the church. The highest tower is 24m high, and the small tower is 12m. The towers have overlights on the top, making a view from the audience towards the sky. At the same time the overlights allow daylight to enter the rooms.
In the siteplan, the footprint of the old church is rebuilt to make a memorial. The old church is brought to rest between the graves on the old graveyard.
The Project has been Awarded “the building of the year” in Norway among over 400 candidates. It is also Awarded with “Innlandets Trepris 2016”, a Norwegian wood-price for its new way of using wood.