We continue our theme on cultural institutions with three outstanding church transformations, bringing the best of Danish heritage into the present time.
Absalon – from church to local hall
Where do you go on a Friday night to hang out with your friends? We can guess the usual answers, but did you know that in Copenhagen you can also go to church? However, it’s not to say you Hail Marys. In August 2015, Absalon Church opened its doors as the city’s newest house for the people. But don’t confuse it with the church institution, as it’s actually now a gathering point for locals to hang out and spend time together with friends and family
Only two years before it was decided by the Danish Minister for Culture to close Absalon and five other Copenhagen churches, but thanks to local fireballs the church has now arisen as a new and totally different cultural institution.
Absalon want to be considered as an extension to your own living room. A place filled with friends, laughter, music and other good things. This very much comes to life when you look at Absalon’s calendar, which is loaded with events for all ages. Besides hosting communal eating options every day all year round, there are also yoga classes, dance events, quiz nights and table tennis tournaments on the long list of events going on in the old church building. If you’re in the area, it’s worth a visit.
Photo: Ari Zelenko
Hotel Carmel – from nonconformist building to hotel
A cultural hotel – that’s what the old nonconformist building in Aarhus is going to be. A local entrepreneur, with several projects on his resume, has taken over the historical building with a view to converting it into a trendy place to go out for people over the age of 30.
After the beautiful Carmel building, which dates back to 1921, has fully undergone its renovation, it will include a restaurant in the basement, a saloon on the ground floor and 13 hotel rooms distributed on the first and second floor. The renovation of Hotel Carmel gains its inspiration from the 1920ties swing culture in New York and Paris, and this cultural expression will be dominant throughout the building, but especially in the saloon where the original organ has been conserved.
This interesting project is still under construction but should be ready to welcome guests in 2018.
Photo: Hotel Carmel
Samuels Hus – from church to student housing
With almost 1000 newcomers per month, the city of Copenhagen is having a hard time finding homes for all its new residents, especially the students with less money in their pockets. Thankfully, the housing association Vibo has found a way to solve part of this problem. In 2014, the association bought Samuels Church in Nørrebro with the aim to turn the spiritual building into youth housing.
The red-bricked church has been transformed into 34 apartments and welcomed its first inhabitants in August 2017. The building has been restored in a respectful way to conserve the original architecture, including the arches and the characteristic windows, which means that no two apartments look the same.
Photo: BGB a.s