- Clients : Ástjarnarsókn
- Contractor : SÞ verktakar
- City : Hafnarfjörður
- Country : Iceland
Text description provided by the architects. Being the first phase of the Ástjörn church, the parish hall holds the unique status of taking on all of the functions of the parish – church services included. The anticipated second phase is a church to the south of the main hall. The Parish Hall is modest, warm and accessible. It provides a warm embrace for those who enter to seek protective shelter, peace and inner strength. The design approach was to enhance the church’s role as a servant.
The building is comfortably tucked into the lava field and creates a sheltered and pleasant external environment together with the surrounding landscape. Building and landscape blend together through the way the building’s palette of color and materials is derived from the surrounding lava. The building becomes a landscape and geometric forms and garden spaces belonging to the building‘s formal language are created in the lava. The building also partakes in different kinds of dialogue with the lava by providing sharp formal contrasts.
The parish hall is built around three garden spaces that vary in their enclosures. The first is the plaza, the first node on the way to the building. The plaza is situated to the south, in a recess formed by the building on the one hand and the lava on the other. With the final phase of the building, the church, the plaza will gain its ultimate enclosure, with increased shelter from easterly winds. The second garden is an entry court that lies within the geometric frame of the building.
The entry court is a sheltered and serene space, much like a cloister court, which welcomes visitors while simultaneously allowing daylight to reach the internal office space, foyer, and café. The third garden space is the altar courtyard, which is an enclosed lightwell framed by the parish hall altar. The altar courtyard is a space where no person passes through. Instead, it is a space for visual engagement – a still frame of a piece of nature that offers meditative qualities for reflection and prayer.