Cathedral Square Strängnäs

Competition - Sweden

Cathedral Square Strängnäs is a new gathering place for the community of the town and the church; it provides a cultural centre linking the new building; the Fellowship Hall, with the existing International School, Library Archives (Roggeborgen) and Cathedral Hill.

Founded on a promontory overlooking Lake Målaren – Strängnäs Cathedral is a beacon, drawing people from the surrounding town and across the water. Existing routes up to and through the cathedral site are enhanced to make the Hill more accessible and delightful. In connecting through the Cathedral, the inhabited landscape brings vitality; interventions are of the lightest touch, emphasising the fruitfulness of the park and reflecting the simplicity of form of the paintings within the church. A garden between the apse of the chancel and the Roggeborgen provides a place for more quiet contemplation. A proposed addition to the brief is a multi-faith space for meditation, prayer and private ceremonies, perched on the south east edge of the hill overlooking Lake Målaren.

The new Fellowship Hall forms a strong edge to the east edge of site, completing a cluster of existing buildings and encloses the new Cathedral Square, a civic space focused on the apse of the cathedral chancel. The volume of the building is positioned to maintain views down to the water from cathedral hill, symbolic of the connection of the cathedral with the wider community of the Diocese.

Alterations to protected buildings are kept to a minimum; new construction is kept distinctly separate from the historic cathedral. The ‘narthex’ entrance canopy is a delicate modern structure, supported on slender steel posts, which does not distract from the medieval building, but allows for this part of the site to be inhabited in order to allow full appreciation of historic building.