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Competition: Sydhavnen Parish Church, Copenhagen

The Danish Association of Architects has opened an international contest for a new parish church in the South Harbour district of Copenhagen (Deadline: 31 August)

Backed by the local parish council, the contest seeks proposals for a 3,200m² church on a prominent waterfront plot in the regeneration district which is known locally as Sydhavnen.

Planned to complete in 2019, the high-profile building at Teglholmen will be the first new church in the Danish capital for 30 years.



South Harbour

The flexible building – occupying a corner plot with water on two sides – must be suitable for a range of religious, social, cultural and musical events.

Lone Rasmussen, jury and parish council chair, said: ‘South Harbour is a great neighbourhood which in recent years has seen rapid development.

‘For us it is important to build a church that architecturally fits into the surroundings and simultaneously preserve the old atmosphere of South Harbour. We would rather have a church that reflects the motley “Sydhavnen spirit” than a large prestigious tourist attraction.’

He continued: ‘We want to build a church which is also suitable for everyday use. We already have a wide range of church activities which cater to busy families with children and young people and senior citizens.



South Harbour contest site

‘We hope that everyone in South Harbour will accept the church as their own and use it both in daily life and for celebrations.’

Formerly an industrial district, Sydhavnen has been transformed into a mini-Amsterdam by the arrival of new offices, apartments and floating homes over the past decade.

Prominent new landmarks include the Metropolis Tower by Kasper Danielsen Architects with Future Systems while the nearby Citroën House headquarters is a reminder of the area’s manufacturing past.

The enormous HC Ørsted Power Station to the north is an additional industrial landmark visible from the competition site.

Aalborg University created a new campus – hosting 3,500 students and over 500 employees – in the area four years ago. Former Danish prime minister Anker Joergensen is also a notable Sydhavnen resident.

Up to three winners – set to be announced on 2 November – will receive prizes worth 150,000 KR each and be invited to negotiate for the design contract.

A fee of approximately 200,000 KR is available for teams participating in the negotiations. The competition language is Danish.

How to apply


Submissions must be complete by 31 August

Contact details

Bent Kolind
Competition Advisor
Danish Association of Architects
Aabenraa 34
Copenhagen K

Tel: (+45)30859000

View the contract notice for more information

Bishop Edward King Chapel case study: Q&A with Níall McLaughlin

The founder of Níall McLaughlin Architects discusses how he designed a new chapel for Ripon Theological College in Cuddesdon near Oxford, UK

Níall McLaughlin

Níall McLaughlin

Níall McLaughlin

How did your Bishop Edward King Chapel respond to its immediate context and users’ requirements?

The building is in a lovely setting surrounded by mature trees and close to an Arts and Crafts building by GE Street. We started with the light coming from the tree canopy and said that we would put a continuous clerestory window up in the tree canopy to capture the moving dappled light. Our users were a community of Anglican sisters and a lively theological college who both use the building in different ways. The arrangement of the interior is a careful response to the different liturgical demands coming from each group.



Bishop Edward King Chapel by Níall McLaughlin Architects

What material, structural, spatial and other techniques are available to designers seeking to achieve a similar impact?

The possibilities are endless. I would expect material and technical resources to be employed to respond to issues that come from liturgy and place. The sense of sacred space must emerge from deep roots in the worshipping community and not seek shallow or spectacular visual effects.

How would you set about designing a new church which reflects the varied and historic landscape of Copenhagen’s South Harbour?

I would study the community, the place and its history and I would pick up my design strands from that.



Bishop Edward King Chapel by Níall McLaughlin Architects