Røldal Pilgrim Center

TYPE Cultural center with sacral spaces
SIZE 1.240 m2
LOCATION Røldal, Norway
STATUS Competition entry
CLIENT Røldal Pilgrimssenter AS

TUPELO crew Håkon Follesø, Christoph von Mach, Knut Hovland and Thor Arne Kleppan
The new pilgrim centre is situated southwest of the Røldal Stavkirke and is formed of two volumes. The larger one contains the main hall, the exhibition space and administration for the centre and church. The chapel of rest is a separate smaller volume on the side. The main building sits in a set back position 75m away from the Stavkirke and thus does not interrupt the monumentality. The new buildings are shifted in a slight angle and face the main road and church simultaneously.

The disposition creates generous outside spaces of different characters. Closest to the main road and the public arrival you find an extroverted square, further south the tree island and the square in front of the chapel which provide more intimate spaces for contemplation. In order to blend in with the existing context, the external pavement and the internal floors follows the slanting topography. The sequence of exterior spaces is frames by the chapel of rest. The visitor thus always has the Stavkirke as a visual background and allows for manifold arrangements to exhibit the historic value of the site. 

The main building is divided into three volumes. The wood structure of the roof is the overall unifying element and creates intimate interior spaces. Centrally, you will find the Vestibule and the reception. The Vestibule has direct visual contact with the Stavkirke and all main functions. The flexible exhibition space has direct access from the reception. All visitor circulation can be monitored from one central position. North of the Vestibule the main hall is located with wardrobe and visitor restrooms. South of the Vestibule you pass the fire place and group room. After that you reach the administration for both the centre and the church. The administrative spaces have a separate entrance from the small chapel, easy to reach for both visitors and staff. This neutral entrance is protected by the tree island to provide enough intimacy.

In general, only materials with low-emission life cycles are used. The whole building uses long-lasting materials of high quality which are most preferably produced locally. The material palette includes wood, concrete and local slate and natural stone. The main structure consists of wooden columns and girders with walls of massive-wood as stiffening elements. Massive-wood is chosen for its longevity, moisture-regulating ability and simple assembly. The prefabricated external massive-wood walls have an insulation layer of min. 200mm and a U-value of at least 0,18 W/m2 K. External cladding is ventilated. Internal walls come in massive-wood with a thickness of 100mm. Acoustic walls consist of two layers with an air layer in between. The exposed roof beams carry veneer plates and 300mm insulation to provide a U-value of at least 0,13 W/m2 K. The floor plate is pored in concrete on site and carries a conditioned core to ensure base temperatures. Floor plates to the second floor are in massive wood. The combination of materials and a natural ventilation cycle provide a comfortable internal climate without high investment and running costs.