Day 2 - Betsy in Copenhagen - Jorn Utzon Bagsvaerd Church
His most important structure in Demark was his Bagsværd Church – 30 min north of Copenhagen. I visited after I left the DAC.
I think Utzon was in love with interior experiences. Many of his buildings have a subtle or simple exterior that belies the interior experience. The interior experience celebrate scale and materials and how the body perceives and interacts with them. This church’s exterior is simple and unadorned. When entering the church you pass through a simple Douglas Fir screen then you enter the sanctuary. The floor is white concrete in 2x8 sections. The lower parts of the walls are made of the same white 2x8 sections of concrete. The side aisles are structured of exposed concrete and the ceiling structure and flowing forms of the ceiling are made of white painted board formed concrete. They conceal a hidden skylight that provides a lot of light for the nave.
The building plays in contrasts. The pews are made of light Douglas fir. The pattern carpet that you walk down the main aisles is bright and colorful. The places to kneel at the later are white terrazzo with Spanish tile end-caps and light celadon Swede Upholstry. These design decision are about putting softness and warmth near the human body.. The structure remains austere and monumental and white.
Representing god and and the power of god. The light in the structure is natural and hidden from view – gain reinforcing the mystery of god. The electric light is bold and straightforward it runs horizontally along the side aisles.
The interior is intimate in scale, and is a small church. I was surprised that the alter and the concrete pattern screen behind the alter are asymmetrical. This had a whimsy to the space that was unexpected.