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In Stockholm, Årsta Church Epitomizes A Space For Contemplation

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Årsta Church
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Swedish architecture firm Johan Celsing Arkitektkontor has designed ‘Årsta Church’—a community church in Stockholm.

In modern architecture, places for worship are frequently designed to represent simplicity and diversity in equal measure. They serve as versatile spaces that must adapt to a multitude of functions while providing an atmosphere that is contemplative, meditative, and welcoming. In Årsta, the community church epitomizes a structure of this purpose. The suburb, located in the south of Stockholm, is synonymous with a quieter, more relaxed pace of life from that of the city center. Though the church was completed in 2008, it is a recent addition to the adjoining bell tower and parish building that has stood on the site since the mid-1960s. The facade of the building is clad in red brick, topped with a thick concrete slab that forms the roof.

As with many buildings inspired by traditional Swedish architecture, the austere structure is carefully considered. Huge rectangular windows placed at irregular intervals hint at the unique character of the building. The interior reveals a bright, vast, and open space, reaching a height of over 10 meters. The walls are lined with whitewashed brickwork, with the addition of glazed, perforated bricks providing a tactile materiality. The large, vertical windows provide views out into the surrounding neighborhood—a detail that reminds of the notion of shared experience that is central to these community structures. Above the windows, supportive concrete beams criss-cross the ceiling—a purposeful design feature that brings versatility to the contemplative space.

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All images © Andy Liffner