ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwidethe world's most visited architecture website

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos


Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.


Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Churches
  4. Norway
  5. Jensen & Skodvin Architects
  6. 2002
  7. Mortensrud church / JSA

Mortensrud church / JSA

  • 01:00 - 31 August, 2011
Mortensrud church / JSA
Mortensrud church / JSA

Mortensrud church / JSA Mortensrud church / JSA Mortensrud church / JSA Mortensrud church / JSA +53

  • Location

    Mortensrud, Oslo
  • Architects

    Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor
  • Project Architects

    Jensen & Skodvin, JanOlav Jensen (project leader), Børre Skodvin, AnneLise Bjerkan, Torunn Golberg, Torstein Koch, Siri Moseng, Einar Bjarki Malmquist
  • Artists

    Gunnar Torvund (main altar piece & blue glass sculpture in chapel), Knut Wold (marble piece in chapel)
  • Interior Architect Furniture

    Terje Hope
  • Structural Engineer

    ICG ASA / Einar Johansen, Ola Bjørn Petteresen, Gunnar Fuglerudsveen
  • Design Period

    1998 - 1999
  • Building Leader

    Øivind Moen AS, Dag Solvang, Haavard Slaatten
  • Client

    Kirkelig Fellesråd i Oslo, Terje Oterholt
  • Ventilation & Sanitary

    Andersen & Johnsen AS, Bjørn Andersen
  • Budget

    5.500.000 EURO (US $8.42 millions)
  • Area

    2200.0 sqm
  • Project Year


From the architect. The church is situated on the top of a small crest with large pine trees and some exposed rock.
Geometrically speaking the church is an addition to the existing ground, no blasting and excavation was necessary except carefully removing the thin layer of soil. This technique, among other things, makes it easier to preserve the existing vegetation and topography, thereby adding a dimension to the experience of the building.

A number of trees are preserved in atriums within the enclosure. Some of the rock formations emerge like islands in the concrete floor of the church, between the congregation and choir. Thus the church takes its major divisions from elements already on the site. This is possible because there are relatively large tolerances in dimensioning the rooms. No module has been used to determine the exact positions of the gardens. Rather the materials and structures are chosen so that a gradual non incremental adjustment of dimensions, without steps or modules, is possible.

The tension between the wish to create a "silent" self-referring room, and a variety of obstacles limiting this possibility, has been deliberately chosen as a strategy to architecturally "disturb" a process in which a wide range of people and interests are involved, and which otherwise would be heavily loaded with conventional and other historical references.

The main structure is a steel framework with a stone wall carrying the roof. A glass facade 90 - 160 cm off the stone wall defines a narrow gallery around the church room. The stone in this wall is built without mortar, thus letting light through, and has one even side, and one uneven as standard. The uneven outside of the internal stone wall is exposed to the outside through the glass facade on three sides of the church. The stonewall is stiffened horizontally by steel plates, 4mm x 250mm, that spans between the columns, inserted into the wall every meter. These plates can stiffen this wall only when the weight of the wall itself is added to this structure. The glass facades are stiffened with "propels" made from steel plates that are inserted into the vertical joints between the glass panes, and to the horizontal steel plates in the stonewall.

The budget was very tight, and the price per square meter equals that of social housing in Oslo. To get this building realized we had to use every possibility we could think of to get more out of less, economically speaking. This was achieved mainly by avoiding conventional "proprietary" systems for facades, structures, walls, floors etc. Rather we used very basic methods and techniques and surprisingly found out, again and again, that not only was it cheaper, it also gave us a far greater architectural freedom.
The fragmented and complex character that emerged and concluded the process of searching for the possible configurations - that is the layout that eventually could be realized given the limitations we had - turned out to be so complex that it is virtually impossible to photograph the whole building, or interior in one shot.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Mortensrud church / JSA" 31 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Yijun Wu · March 22, 2014

Breathtaking! Add to my favorites.

Elusive Moose · July 27, 2012

Mortensrud Church #Oslo via @archdaily #architecture #Norway

Lucas Wilfred · November 11, 2011

fantastic points altogether, you just received a new reader. What would you recommend in regards to your post that you made some days ago? Any sure?

Robert Ting · November 02, 2011

Visited this church last week while in Oslo. What a wonderful discovery. Very authentic and site and region specific. Special thanks to the "church lady" who have unlocked the front door so I can study the details in depth.

Josh Mings · September 01, 2011

I still regret not being able to get here while in Oslo. Must see on next trip. Mortensrud church / JSA via @archdaily

Christoph Kapeller · September 01, 2011

Stone and Glass

John Joseph Burns · September 01, 2011

Mortensrud church / JSA #architecture

Shortlister · August 31, 2011

Scandinavian Architects Do it Better - Mortensrud church / JSA via @archdaily

Puuk Arquitectos · August 31, 2011

Mortensrud church / JSA

Erik Joya · August 31, 2011

Mortensrud church / JSA: Architects: Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor Location: Mortensrud…

REMEN Arquitectura · August 31, 2011

Iglesia en Oslo

Adhie Indreswara · August 31, 2011

Mortensrud church / JSA via ArchDaily - Architects: Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor Location: ...

Arquitectura · August 31, 2011

Mortensrud church / JSA #architecture

Ali · August 31, 2011

Nice details!!
If there was a Birdview Photo, the project was
more obvious.

André van Tulder · September 01, 2011 12:17 AM

Try the site plan!

Frederick · May 15, 2009

Worth a trip to Oslo just to see it!!
One of the best buildings I've seen for a very long time....

Noname · August 23, 2010 03:35 PM

u have a very bad Taste

Pierre · November 30, 2008

Two links.


Our site:


Comments are closed

Read comments