Kata Farm in Varnhem

Kata Farm in Varnhem

Architect
AIX Arkitekter AB
Location
532 73 Varnhem, Sweden | View Map
Project Year
2017
Category
Churches
Antonius van Arkel

Kata Farm in Varnhem

AIX Arkitekter AB as Architects

In 2005, excavations were initiated on a hill near Varnhems monastery church. There were found remains of a farm church from the 9th century, which testifies that Västergötland was christened 100 years earlier than was believed. The ruins are the remains of Sweden's oldest Christian church and probably even the oldest Swedish building. Kata was the woman who ruled the farm and allowed the church to be built, and for this reason the place was named Kata farm. In order to make the old church accessible for visitors, the church foundations with its burial sites are protected from weather and wind.


With a structure that functions as a roof, the foundation is protected, but also creates a space for exhibiting and explaining the stories about the place and its history. The building is constructed of laminated timber beams that form an equilateral triangle in its cross-section, a timber roof truss. The trusses are placed on laminated timber horizontal sill plates, which rest on a number of pillars in the ground. The board-on-board roof is treated with tar. The room above the ground is open to see the masonry from above.


The glazed railing lets visitors see the basement. Even Kata's tomb from the mid-1000's is visible through the glazed floor from above. A breakthrough in the limestone wall reveals the incision of the foundation wall and provides access to the stone basement. An electrical lifting platform with glazed walls is installed between the basement and the roof structure as an access alternative to the entrance staircase. The structure above the ruin and grave is 12 meters wide, 19 meters long and 12 meters high. The building is not heated. The existing road to the monastery church has a hard surface to facilitate the visit to the ruins. In May 2017, the exhibition hall and weather protection were opened over the ruin of Sweden's oldest church.

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