Røldal Pilgrim centre, Norway.
Central to the character of Røldal church and the churchyard is it’s location in the open cultivated field. To maintain this situation it is crucial to keep the green cultivated field around the churchyard with its crops growing right next to the stonewall.
The new pilgrim centre is located on it’s own clearly defined area bounded by stonewalls. The churchyard and the pilgrim centre are separated by a strip of cultivated land. A path connects the centre and the church. This path marks the transition form the new centre to the old church and represent a journey in time and faith.
The path starts at the arrival in the west and divide the centre in two parts. A northern part serving the church affairs and a public southern part targeted the visitors. The space between the two buildings is staging the arrival to the centre and the church. The two buildings also shields the arrival and the path to the church from the other outdoor activities around the centre. Other outdoor activities include a sunny courtyard to the south with direct view to the river “Storelva” and less visible to the north is a practical area for equipment.
The two buildings of the centre are connected at first floor by a glass covered walkway. The two entrants to the buildings are facing each other at ground floor underneath the walkway. the entrants and the walkway connects staircases at each building and forms a central circulation which serves the entire centre.
All extroverted function is placed at ground floor. This include the vestibule and assembly hall in the public building and the chapel and the priest’s office in the church servicing building. There are direct access to the courtyard from the vestibule and assembly hall. Both building holds administration and meting facilities at first floor. Toilets and exhibition is situated in the basement of the public building. While arranging the interior there has been a strong focus on the need of each room, including view to the church, connectivity and light.
The design of the new pilgrim centre respects the central position of the church. The church’s roof and tower raises towards the sky. in contrary is the roof of the centre deliberately cut flat. The slanting sides of the centre
reinforces it’s unique identity.
To obtain a proper balance in size between the centre and the church several techniques has been applied to minimise the appearance of the centre. The centre is divided in two. The actual volume of the buildings is minimised. The sides are curved to reduce the end facades and make the buildings appear more dynamic and light.
The slanting west facade and the open east facade makes the buildings point toward the church. The facade are made up of small tarred wood elements and mimic in this way the church. The windows and doors are like on the church clearly defined in the facade. The buildings is constructed with a series of A shaped frames which forms a easily readable timber structure. Visible from inside as well as outside. The structure is dimensioned to withstand the heavy load of the local snow conditions.
The simple and durable design of the centre makes it practical in daily use as well as for large groups.