New Church of Valer by CEBRA

The old church of Valer, a small town in the southeast of Norway, burned down in 2009 and has left a void in a cultural-historical site. Copenhagen-based firm CEBRA has created a proposal for its replacement derived from obvious religious symbolism as a leaning cross that rises from the ground. Light and wood become the two most important building materials, merging a long standing Norwegian construction history with the quality of sacred spaces required of a place of worship. The particular shape of the cross also serves the building’s program as appropriately as it does metaphorically – an inhabitable "stairway to heaven". The new wooden structure is built on the opposite side of a central walkway from the location of the original chapel, where only the foundation remains in ruins. It creates a threshold between the cemetery and birch grove, and re-utilizes the original footprint as a reflecting pool, reactivating and respecting its history.