Jan Søndergaard of KHR Arkitekter won the 2007 Danish Plastics Award for his use of GRP composite in the design of Fiberline Composites’ new head office and factory at Middelfart, Denmark. Building on this experience is a new ecclesiastical structure - the Church of the Holy Cross at Jyllinge, Denmark - a modern edifice that achieves versatility through use of composite and that forms an integral part of the landscape.
Through Fiberline Composites, GRP composite has now won the national seal of approval in Denmark with its admission to the official canon of Danish art and culture.
Fiberline’s innovative facade panels made of GRP composite allow light to pass through from the outside. This quality, light, combined with the structural advantages of GRP, has been used to remarkable effect in the new Church of the Holy Cross at Jyllinge, Denmark.
The new church draws its inspiration from the ambience of its position on a beautiful midsummer’s night and is designed to merge naturally with the surrounding countryside. The church may be described as a monolith rising out of the rural landscape that climbs from the fjord. The roof and walls of the building are therefore identically clad, and uniform materials are used to achieve a calm and consistent visual expression.
“The interior spaces are created by a juxtaposition of just two materials that form two opposing “U”s, stressing the historic union of church and congregation. Floors and walls are in light-coloured concrete cast in situ, alluding to the gravitas of time and the church’s temporal association. A beautiful, emotional and innovative twin construction of GRP, whose cellular structure, also in composite, appears wholly transparent, therefore allowing light to pass through while at the same time meeting statutory insulation requirements,” explains Jan Søndergaard.
Connection to the fjord
With its dominating view of the exterior the interior of the church is perceived as a two-part extension of the landscape, which is reminiscent from the water of a swan flying low towards the fjord with spread wings.
When required, the body of the church can be divided by means of a transparent textile woven with a net structure. This serves to extend the nave in a north-westerly direction, terminating in the scenic amphitheatre structure that renders the church a versatile entity suitable for use in multiple contexts.
“I do not see this project solely as a development towards the future spiritual space or as a renewal of it. I also see it as representing the development of a new material with its use in the building industry, industrially oriented towards future applications,” says Jan Søndergaard.