The Cathedral of the Northern Lights

This is a project by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and it is located at Alta, Norway. Project's program: A cathedral with a church room(350 people), administration offices, classrooms, exhibition areas and a parochial area. There are fourteen images for The Cathedral of the Northern Lights.

The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
© Adam Mørk

Project details

Project images

  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • The Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Designer's statement

The Crown Princess of Norway, Mette-Marit, the 47 metre high Cathedral of the Northern Lights is situated in the Norwegian town of Alta approximately 500 km north of the Arctic Circle. The building is a landmark, which through its architecture symbolizes the extraordinary natural phenomenon of the Arctic northern lights. The cathedral reflects, both literally and metaphorically, the northern lights: ethereal, transient, poetic and beautiful.

The significance of the northern lights is reflected in the architecture of the cathedral. The contours of the church rise as a spiralling shape to the tip of the belfry 47 metres above the ground. The façade, clad in titanium, reflects the northern lights during the long periods of Arctic winter darkness and emphasizes the experience of the phenomenon.

Inside the main area of the cathedral, the church room creates a peaceful contrast to the dynamic exterior of the building. The materials used, raw concrete for the walls and wood for the floors, panels and ceilings, underline the Nordic context. Daylight enters the church room through tall, slim, irregularly placed windows. A skylight lights up the whole wall behind the altar creating a distinctive atmosphere in the room.

The cathedral, which can accommodate 350 people in the church room, also has administration offices, classrooms, exhibition areas and a parochial area.

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