Fløng Parish House
Status: 4th prize in open competition 2008
Location: Fløng, Denmark
Client: The paris of Fløng
There are three main goals for the design of this new church building: to create the optimal environment for an active and engaged congregation, through the design of a flexible and contemporary building; to create a strong connection from the church to the city, so the congregation and other users have an ominipresent connection to the activities of the parish; to create a community house, of distinctive aesthetic character, that in connection with the existing church, becomes a destination on the hill capable of attracting both locals and visitors.
Many talk about a need for the church to approach its congregation in a new way, where secondary activities become the primary focus. However, the building site’s intimate relationship to the church garden offers the unique opportunity for a symbiosis between the traditional functions and newer facilities.
A modern parish hall will promote the transparency and interdisciplinary nature of contemporary church culture, while the intimate relationship between the two buildings should help integrate the traditional values of the church into those new prevailing attitudes about church community life.
Considering the contemporary concept for the Fløng Church community, the new functions are divided into an employee area and one that accomodates the religious and cultural activities. A central heart is formed by a common foyer that flows between the two different programs.
The ambition of this project is to appropriately use the evocative architecture of a new addition to orchestrate the connection between the new functions and the old church. The challenge of that goal, is to do so while respecting the history and significance of the original church building.
The parish hall funtions are distributed across a single floor level to allow complete accessibility. The employees’ portion of the building connects to the church wall, and creates an area off the road and bike path. This part of the building includes the service functions, and allows for motor vehicle access. The personel functions serve the new building, the old church and the churchyard, so there is also a machinery and storage area.
The integration of these staff funtions into the wall help keep those functions from disturbing the activities in the garden and cemetary, but it is still imporant to connect those spaces to the spirit of the original church. Large windows are used in the low, deferential building, to provide a significant visual connection to the tall church and the heavens beyond.
The communal spaces connect to the others through a shared foyer that flows into a large congregation hall. This part of the building is directly connected to the primary entrance courtyard that creates a central outdoor access point for the church, the new Parish hall, and the cemetary.
That point provides a direct link to the activity in town, and the flexible and inclusive nature of the courtyard helps to collect and distrubute the members of the congregation and other guests to their respective activities. The interior spaces of the new parish hall are also large and flexible. They open up to the outdoor space, and express the social nature of the activities that occur within.
The new addition to the church complex, with the increase in contemporary, community functions, will undoubtably make the church a more important social hub to the town of Fløng. The shared courtyard will be an important outdoor space in that relationship between city and church, and the new community building will create a new concentration of social activity.
Despite the significance of the new addition, the success of this building lies in its ability to defer to the existing church building. The hall may add a new dimension to the social functions of the church, but at its core, the focus of the Fløng Parish Hall is still on the history and tradition that lies at the spiritual heart of the town.
Four large trees on the site are preserved, and the large flat stones that already exist are continued in the expanded courtyard. Additional surface materials include stones, gravel, and grass.
The parish hall is to be articulated as a heavy white building of dyed concrete, a material that is strong and also offers a lot of flexibility. Concrete provides an endless variety of finishes. In this case, a smooth, bright white concrete has been chosen as a modern interpretation of the gleaming white historical building opposite.