In November, we focus on cultural institutions from as many angles as possible. And though churches represent religion, they also very often become symbols of cultural aspects. In Denmark some of these churces or religious community areas have been allowed to transform into something completely different.
On the small island of Læsø, in the waters between northern Denmark and southern Sweden, in what used to be a traditional white church with a jagged tower, you today find a spa that specializes in climatic treatment.
The island is famously known for its high quality salt and, since the beginning of this millennium, an entrepeneur named Poul Christensen has worked to create a place that could combine modern architecture and art with nature’s resources, in order to enhance people´s feeling of life quality. As of 2008 this became reality: the old western island harbour church is used as part of a luxury spa experience as well as a well-documented treatment for people suffering from psoriasis. The new architectonic building is designed by Friis & Moltke architects and is very close to nature. You can go there of your own volition or as part of diagnosed treatment. The Spa has over the past 9 years focused on continous improvement of the treatments and the experience of enhanced life quality after the treatments. The salty baths not only treat people suffering from skin problems but also with the form of psoriasis causing rheumatism. Dive into the transformation from religion to sanctuary.
An old parish hall in southern Denmark
At 252 square metres, the parish hall has been thoroughly renovated with all due respect to the heritage of the building, which was originally made for the congregation of the area.
The hall was inaugurated in 1897 and has been declared worthy of preservation by the Danish state – a fact the private family who bought the house almost five years ago has been very aware of throughout the entire restoration. The core of the house is naturally the parish hall itself, which measures 130 square metres and has a height of 5.3 metres. The arched ceiling revealed itself after the removal of a lower wooden ceiling and was a pleasant surprise aesthetically as well as acoustically. Today this is the kitchen area as well as the dining area, the living area and an area for working. All work in the building is conducted under the advice of architect Claus Reinholdt, who happens to be the father of one of the residents.
The parish hall was from the very beginning baptised ’Hermon’, which is the name of the snowy mountain between Syria and Lebanon and is mentioned in the Bible.
Find more information on the project here or by visiting Danish Housing Architects.
The old malt plant in Ebeltoft
Being Danish means lifting the heritage of the Vikings. For them, beer was as natural as their belief in Nordic mythology. So, at the risk of misrepresentation or exaggeration, an old malt plant is almost at the level of religiousness.
In the summer of 2019 a location such as this in Ebeltoft is being converted into a cultural establishment – but with co-creation as the driver. The total budget is 155 million Danish kroner (equivalent to app. 25 million US dollars) and, unlike other projects such as this in Denmark, is funded by the private sector, local charities, national funding, stock owned by residents and the local muncipality. The malt plant will be home to a library, a museum and an archive, in a fusion not seen before. The same location will also house a micro brewery, a foodcourt and a stage as well as a café.