Architects clad Livereds chapel in Mölndal, Sweden in Kebony’s Scots Pine
St. Clair, MICH. — Earlier this month, Kebony wood unveiled its first completed project with ecclesiastical design. It was chosen as the material of choice to create a façade for a new chapel which opened last autumn in Mölndal, Sweden. European churches tend to use traditional building materials for posterity, permanence and durability, so the use of Kebony’s wood in this project allows the chapel a fusion of contemporary style and traditional durability.
The building’s design is unique. Its rounded corners and asymmetrical shape made it a challenge to settle on a material for construction. The architects specified a wooden material that would excel in both appearance and performance, making Kebony a natural choice. The chapel sits within a forest, from where peaks of gray, exposed rock are visible through the trees. The Kebony cladding, formed to give a curved, soft edge to the structure, will allow the church to blend with its surroundings, as its own gray patina will develop over time.
The gray color of the wood and rock is also reflected in the generous foundations and the base of the church, which are made from concrete. These foundations support the vast building and its textured, gray granite walls. The entrance to the church has an ornate wooden façade in oiled oak which, sheltered by the roof, will survive without maintenance for a considerable time — as will the Kebony cladding.
Kebony is a Norway-based company that provides a sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood. Through its patented technology, it transforms sustainable softwoods into a premium wood product that performs at the same level as tropical hardwood, without the impact of deforestation of rare wood species. Its refined appearance gives the chapel a serene feel, whereas its durability will require little to no maintenance or replacement.
The interior is dominated by birch plywood walls and ceilings, which is starkly contrasted by the base. Much of the interior is characterized by the translucent, colorless mosaic that sits directly atop the untreated concrete. Although this design feature was not included in the original plans, it now is one of the prominent focal points of the interior.
“The building can be said to be strongly influenced by the Asplund and Lewerentz Woodland cemetery chapel in Stockholm,” said Christer Malmström, project architect. “We looked hard for a wood that could be ready for use from day one without requiring treatment or ongoing maintenance. Early on, we decided upon using Kebony as it aptly fulfilled all of the requirements of shape, durability and appearance.”
“This project is Kebony’s first foray into ecclesiastical architecture,” said Adrian Pye, international sales director for Kebony. “Its modern look and durable, stable features are entirely appropriate; another example of Kebony’s diverse applications. Churches and buildings of worship have evolved and responded to changing beliefs, but they have always formed a prominent and enduring feature of local communities and the resilient Kebony cladding will preserve this chapel and protect it from extreme weather. ”
The chapel is a non-denomiational building, therefore it had to be designed to accommodate both believers and non-believers. The ceremonial room has a space suitable for all religions and the direction of the room falls along the east-west direction, towards Mecca.