Cathedral of the Northern Lights

Arctic Religion by Schmidt/Hammer/Lassen

The Cathedral of the Northern Lights, a spiralling structure perched in a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle, was officially unveiled earlier this month.

The building, which features a belfry reaching to 47-m about the snow-covered ground, was designed by Danish super-firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen. The firm won the project in 2001, following a competition held by the town of Alta to find a design that would interact with their famed views of the Northern Lights.

To this end, the firm created a shimmering spectacle amongst the snow, the titanium facade reflecting the colourful phenomenon during the long winter nights.

'The cathedral reflects, both literally and metaphorically, the northern lights: ethereal, transient, poetic and beautiful,' says John F. Lassen, one of the firm's founding partners. 'It appears as a solitary sculpture in interaction with the spectacular nature.'

Within, the 1,917-sq-m cathedral trades the sci-fi feel for a rustic, Nordic-styled space layered with strips of wood against raw concrete, and a glittering nave striped with long windows.

It's a beautiful site - and only one-upped by the flickering aurora borealis itself. A sight for the soul, indeed.

Images by Adam Mørk, courtesy Schmidt Hammer Lassen.

 

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