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Sydhavnen New Church

Jaja Architects

Shared By

Symone Garvett

Project Name

Sydhavnen New Church

Project Status

Concept Proposal

Year Completed



26,910 sq. feet


Sydhavn Sogn



  • Structural Engineer: Søren Jensen Rådgivende Ingeniører

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This project proposal was a competition entry, along with Architect of Invention's, to build a new church in Sydhavnen, Denmark. Jaja Architect's proposal was chosen as the winner.

Project Description


Due to rapid population growth in the Copenhagen city area Sydhavnen, the first new church since 1989 will span the bridge between cultural and church activities for the growing number of inhabitants.

The proposal aims to create a balance that offers a spiritual breathing space for the individual and an urban space for the community. The church should be accessible for the public when religious ceremonies are not taking place and thus also be a recreational space in the area.

Designed as an upward-moving spiral walkway of ramps, the harbor landscape merges with the church roof, inviting the city dwellers to ascend to the top and enjoy the view. A gathering point for the congregation as well as for the whole city, the church space with its view of the city skyline becomes common property.

The church can be experienced both as an inner and an outer movement.

A colonnade following the movement of the façade from the bottom to the top forms a soft transition between inside and outside, accentuating the building entrances along the way. The spiral walkway enables direct access to all the church functions without passing through the main entrance. Various terraces form little havens along the walkway, inviting people to pause for a while and let thoughts flow freely.

The more ‘extrovert’ church functions are located on the ground floor, such as the main entrance, the café and the lively cultural spaces towards the harbor, providing active façades along all sides of the building. The nave is placed on the top floor, its inner spiral form reflecting the outer shape of the church.

Water is a universal element to the church – both by its Christian reference, but in as much as a reference to the harbor and the location by the waterfront. Architecturally, the water becomes an integral part of the church experience by letting a water spring create a flow of water basins and water gardens, as it trickles down the building from a source on top of the church to the harbor. The water experience will vary as a reflection of the weather throughout the day. Heavy rain will cause the water basins to overflow, creating a dramatic series of smaller waterfalls along the church façade. The colonnade offers shelter for the rain, allowing for poetic experiences in all weather.
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