Medieval history meets modern architecture at Kata Farm, a ninth-century church that now serves as an exhibition hall in Varnhem, Sweden. A new 300-square-meter timber A-frame structure designed by Stockholm-based AIX Arkitekter AB sits atop the remains of Sweden’s oldest Christian church – which is believed to be the country’s oldest building. Glue-laminated timber was used as the primary material for the new structure.
Located on the grounds of Varnhem Abbey, Kata Farm was named after the woman who ruled the farm and allowed the church to be built. The new timber structure, which was built to protect the farm foundations from the elements, is raised on a series of pillars to minimize site impact. An elevated walkway with a glazed railing and signage wraps around the exposed stone ruins and is punctuated by glass panels allowing for top-down views of the burial sites, including Kata’s tomb that dates back to the mid-1000s.
The glue-laminated timber trusses are exposed and timber left unpainted for a minimalist look to complement the excavated grounds. In contrast to the light-colored interior, darker tar-treated pine planks clad the sloped exterior. The building can be accessed via a staircase that leads up to an outdoor deck or a glazed elevator on the opposite side of the building.
Images © Antonius van Arkel