We are designing the first new church in Copenhagen for over 30 years

A modern monument for Denmark’s capital, the Ørestad Church evokes a meeting place at a clearing in the trees. Designed in wood and wood shingle, the 1,750 m2/18,837 ft2 church reflects the nature of Ørestad’s open landscape, embracing the community and its surroundings – an inverted facade design creates protrusions within the deep church walls, an extroverted space for the community.

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Set amongst open landscape and common land, Ørestad in Copenhagen is known for its expressive architecture. For Ørestad Church, our winning design offers another new architectural approach.

“The intention is to create a church that can command attention, untouched by the bustle of the city, filled with spaces of distinguished simplicity that offer residents solace from their everyday life. Tasked with designing a building that lingers in your mind, we have chosen to create a building that sits in complete harmony with its surroundings,” says Global Design Director Jacob Kurek.

A striking sculptural roof becomes a new sustainable landmark and marks a natural meeting place for the local community

Conjuring the sensation of standing under a canopy of trees in a forest, our design for Ørestad Church features wooden roof domes through which light cascades. The chapel is bathed in light from above and opens up the view of the sky, drawing people’s gaze. The hall is the clearing in the forest, where the light is refracted in a variety of ways throughout the day and year.

The facade of the church is rough, like bark on a tree, and changes character through the seasons and over time. The church is connected to its surroundings by a continuous brick floor of various tones and glazing, referencing fallen leaves, that rises to become benches, sitting niches, and podiums – the path from the city and the common lead directly into the church.

“We have great expectations that the new church will become a meeting point for both the parish and the community in Ørestad. It has been our goal to create a sustainable church that is completely its own and contributes to Ørestad's tradition of experimenting with the built environment," says Design Director Nina la Cour Sell.

An opportunity to embed modern concepts of social sustainability

Community consultation has informed the types of programming the building will house. As well as a flexible church room that can be adapted to hold a range of services and ceremonies, the church also holds a chapel, a shielded courtyard, a church office, and informal cultural spaces that can be used for communal eating, small concerts, yoga, dancing, or lectures.

The inverted facade is activated on all sides creating an urban shelf with seating niches, a book exchange, a drinking fountain, and games and chess tables.

Referencing cloister gardens, the church's building protects the courtyard but lets the light fall from above. The shady corners give way to a garden where visitors can sit for quiet reflection.

The landscape consists of grasses, herbaceous perennials and cherry trees inspired by the nearby Amager Fælled – a protected natural area.

The winning proposal was delivered in collaboration with Platant and Ramboll, and we are providing both both architectural and landscape services.

Among proposals from Lundgaard & Tranberg, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, Konsordium OOPEAA:WE, and Cobe a judging panel consisting of both professional judges and members of Islands Brygge Parish Council selected Henning Larsen as the winner of the competition.

Construction is expected to start in 2024, and the church will be consecrated in 2026.


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