The Pilgrimage Center at Røldal Stave Church, designed by Lund+Slaatto Architects, seeks to reconcile a complex program under the same roof. The building is both a defined end point for the pilgrims and tourists and a gathering place for the locals. The building is present as an object, while remaining deferential to the stave church and the cemetery. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The stave church in Røldal is a wood church dating from between 1200 and 1250, and is the only stave church in Norway that is still in active use today. In the Middle ages it became an important centre for pilgrims, who came to venerate the crucifix above the main alter. In the last decade there has been a revival of the pilgrimages to Røldal.
The building’s materiality plays on local building traditions, while seeking to bring the programmatic challenges together in an architectural language fit for our own time. The building is the meeting between the local axis defined by the landscape form of the valley and the universal axis defined by the church. The building conveys the transition between these two directions in the central room that contains all the main public functions.
The building’s technical and administrative program is divided into two zones on each side of the central public area. To the north, a series of technical functions form a structural backbone towards the adjacent road and a camping area. The administrative part of the building is gathered in the southeastern corner of the building. Here is the ecclesiastical part of the program is directed towards the east, while the general administration is located with views to the south. The hall for the wake is secluded at the end of the eastern façade and is a more introverted and intimate place, closely related to the view back towards the church.
The public areas form a continuous zone at the center of the building. The cafe and the lobby are located near the main entrance, with a view towards the church. The exhibition area is located in the center of the building, with the possibility for flexible interior design and control of natural light. The public walk through the building culminates in a lounge with an open fireplace. This room has magnificent views down the valley between the spectacular mountains of Røldal. Through its flexible public spaces the project aims to create a series of possible gathering place for the people of Røldal.
The two covered external spaces will become natural gathering places for a variety of important local events such as the 17th of May Norwegian national holiday. The building’s form is directly related to the wall surrounding the cemetery, and defines in this way a new forecourt to the church. The recess facing the church creates a transitional zone between this forecourt and the pilgrimage center.
The building’s modest height and distinct horizontality is instrumental in making the pilgrimage center defer to the vertical form of the stave church. It’s subdued roof-shaped relates to the changing silhouette of the landscape, and will lead the visitor gently towards the stave church.
Architects: Lund + Slaatto Architects Location: Røldal, Norway Client: Røldal Pilgrimage Centre AS Subject: Museum and visitors center Surface: 1000 m2 Completion Date: 2014