Project by: Peder Vilhelm Jensen Klint
Place: Copenhagen, Denmark Photographer: Ludwig Favre
Publications: IGNANT Magazine, May 28 2018
A short drive outside of central Copenhagen is the Protestant ‘Grundtvig’s Church’, a monumental Gothic-style church built in the 1920s and ’30s. To this day, it remains a unique example of expressionist architecture.
The church was designed by Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint shortly after World War I to honor the Danish philosopher, historian, bishop, and poet Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig. The design amalgamates numerous building styles, merging the scale of Gothic architecture with traditional Danish church styles and abstract expressionism. Jensen-Klint was particularly inspired by the smaller-scale medieval churches of rural Denmark, and thus based his designs on the stepped gabled churches found in small villages. The exterior is constructed from six million bricks laid by hand; a single pillar alone contains roughly 30,000. The bricks are assembled together to form a shape reminiscent of a church organ, creating a distinctive and towering facade. The church is 259 feet long, with the nave ascending 72 feet high. Klint passed away before the church’s construction was complete, so the conclusion of the project was overseen by his son, Kaare Klint, who designed many of the interior fittings. In what was once an open field, ‘Grundtvig’s Church’ stands as a classic monument to Danish culture and expressionism.