JAJA architects Wins Competition for new Sydhavnen Church in Copenhagen

JAJA architects Sydhavnen Church Copenhagen

The Winning proposal of Competition to design Sydhavnen Parish Church, Copenhagen

JAJA Architects has been introduced as the winners of an open international competition to design a new parish church in the Sydhavnen (South Harbor) district of Copenhagen. Sydhavnen Church will be the first new church built in Copenhagen since 1989.

Because of rapid population growth within the Copenhagen city area Sydhavnen, the first new Sydhavnen Church since 1989 will span the bridge between cultural and church activities for the rising number of inhabitants.

Open “Sydhavnen Church in Copenhagen” Slideshow:


The Sydhavnen Church proposal goals to create a balance that provides a spiritual breathing area for the individual and an urban space for the community. The new Sydhavnen church ought to be accessible for the general public when religious ceremonies are usually not taking place and thus even be a recreational space within the area.

Designed as an upward-moving spiral walkway of ramps, the harbor landscape merges with the church roof, inviting the city dwellers to ascend to the top and enjoy the view. A gathering point for the congregation as well as for the whole city, the church space with its view of the city skyline becomes common property.

The new Copenhagen church can be experienced both as an inner and an outer movement.

A colonnade following the movement of the façade from the bottom to the top forms a soft transition between inside and outside, accentuating the building entrances along the way. The spiral walkway enables direct access to all the church functions without passing through the main entrance. Various terraces form little havens along the walkway, inviting people to pause for a while and let thoughts flow freely.

The more ‘extrovert’ church functions are located on the ground floor, such as the main entrance, the café and the lively cultural spaces towards the harbor, providing active façades along all sides of the building. The nave is placed on the top floor, its inner spiral form reflecting the outer shape of the church.

Water is a universal element to the church – both by its Christian reference, but in as much as a reference to the harbor and the location by the waterfront. Architecturally, the water becomes an integral part of the church experience by letting a water spring create a flow of water basins and water gardens, as it trickles down the building from a source on top of the church to the harbor. The water experience will vary as a reflection of the weather throughout the day. Heavy rain will cause the water basins to overflow, creating a dramatic series of smaller waterfalls along the church façade. The colonnade offers shelter for the rain, allowing for poetic experiences in all weather.

Project info:

Name: New Church in Sydhavnen
size: +2500 m2
location: Teglholmen, Copenhagen, DK
Client: Sydhavn Sogn
year: 2016
Type: Open competition, 1. prize
Architect: JAJA Architects
Engineer: Søren Jensen Rådgivende Ingeniører