Knarvik Church

Community church


In the 1800s, wooden churches were a common sight in Norway, but were often painted to ‘hide’ their true construction material. Knarvik Community Church, opened in 2014, sets to correct that trend and retain a nod to the cultural heritage with a large timber construction that takes inspiration from its surrounding rocky, coastal landscape. With a central location overlooking the town centre, the church has become a distinct part of the town’s identity, with a pre-weathered and untreated wooden façade. On the pine interior of the 2,250m2 building, church pews have been done away with to reveal a large flexible space that can be used for cultural events housing up to 500 people, emphasizing the community aspect of the project.

In addition to the environmental and visual benefits that building the church in wood brings, economics was a major driver. As construction began shortly after the economic downturn, building with local pine transpired to be the most cost-effective way to deliver a landmark new church in Knarvik. The key to the economic and environmental success was local sourcing, with the pine wood heralding only a short distance from the site, reducing transport costs and emissions for the project. The architects had developed their experience working with wood through earlier, smaller projects, allowing the church to be delivered without any major construction challenges, thanks in part to the rigorous involvement of the community throughout the design and construction process.

Photo credits: Hundven Clements.




The pine used in the project was locally sourced and untreated, reducing transport emissions of the materials and eliminating the use of chemicals in the construction materials.



Of all the tenders put in for the church, the wooden design ended up being the most cost effective, thanks to local sourcing of materials that needed relatively little processing.

Social and local

Social and Local

As a community church, the building is set to serve the whole community, not just through religion, but with a flexible space that can host cultural and musical events for the whole town’s benefit.

Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter
7Fjell Entreprenør
Project period

Related cases

Finland - Other


Oodi is a homage to traditional Finnish wooden construction, a new library and multifunctional citizens’ forum for 2.5 million visitors a ye
Sweden - Other

Skellefteå Kulturhus

Skellefteå’s new Kulturhus is demonstrating how a municipality’s vision can create an environment for private investment in building huge wo
Norway - School

Lade School

Lade School in Trondheim is demonstrating how municipalities can use the power of public procurement in driving change towards wood througho...
Sweden - Other

Östra Sala Backe

Östra Sala Backe’s new elderly care home and kindergarten has been built using prefabricated wooden modules that create a multi-functional,
Iceland - Other

Flatey Farm

Not far from Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, Flatey Farm has used a large timberframed building to refresh their dairy farming opera
Norway - Residential

Moholt 50 I 50

Trondheim’s Moholt 50 | 50 project has challenged its stakeholders to contribute to sustainable development and innovation, resulting in an
Norway - Office


Skipet will be one of Norway’s first office buildings built in solid wood, which continues Bergen’s proud tradition of wooden buildings....
Norway - Other


Mjøstårnet in Norway is set to become the world’s tallest timber building, and has developed new techniques to raise the ambitions of safe a
Norway - Office

Valle Wood

Innovative wood construction in the centre of Oslo is setting a new standard for the future of office buildings.