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 Karmelittkloster i Tromsø

Karmelittkloster i Tromsø ( Karmelitt Convent in Tromsø)
Address: Holtveien 38 A, Tromsø
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Architect: Lund & Slaatto Arkitekter AS; Kjell Lund MNAL
Client: Karmelitt Nuns in Tromsø
Construction System /
Concrete construction; cast-in-place concrete; brick
Building Type: Convent; convent church; church
Keywords: convent, convent church, concrete, cast-in-place concrete, brick
Year of Construction: 1994-1996
The Karmelitt Convent is situated in a wooded western slope on Tromsø Island, with a view overlooking the Sandnes Sound and the mountains on the island Kvaløya. The Karmelitt order has a strongly introverted character, promoting isolation and peace. This is clearly reflected in the organisation of the various functions within the convent, and in the use of material and form of the complex.

The convent is two-storied. The storey division and the cornice below the arched roof construction are marked by grey concrete. This stands in contrast to the walls, which are made of harmoniously coloured terracotta bricks.

Altogether the complex is organised into two wings, housing 24 convent cells, a work and sitting room. All of the rooms are west-facing, with a view of a park and the convent's garden area. One can find a library, dining room and sitting room in the outermost part of each wing. The rooms are visibly concealed from the surrounding exterior of the complex. Symmetrically arranged, the wings are in the form of a cross, running through the altar and sanctuary room and terminate in the east. The convent's most sacred room, located in the north, is separated from the sanctuary room (and the outside world) transversely from the long axis and behind a screen. Towards the south lies the reception room for priests and other guests. The sanctuary room is pear-shaped in plan and has a slanted amphitheatre that slopes downwards towards the altar. Indirect light streams into the room through planes of glass in the ceiling, and from sidelight oriels which can be decorated with stained glass.

Nature, the view and the variety of light, from the dark polar winters to the midnight sun, are all important elements in the architectural composition. The interior of the cells, common room and of the corridors have white walls and ceilings. The floors are made of wood, natural stone and ceramic tiles. Light in the interior gradually shifts according to the change of season and daily rhythms. In addition, the light changes when reflecting off of the concrete and brick exterior, something that signifies peace and constancy.
Literature: Ericsson, Edith, "Angelic conversations", Architectural Review 1194 (august 1996), pp. 66-69
Lund, Kjell, "Karmelittkloster, Tromsø", Byggekunst 3/1995, pp. 164-166
Lund, Kjell, "I nærheten av det sakrale rom", Byggekunst 3/1995, pp. 167-171
Lund, Kjell, "Arkitektur og geometri", Byggekunst 1/2001, pp. 68-73
Publisher: The University of Tromsø, 30.12.2004
Author: I.H; P.A.B
Photographer: J.M.B 2003

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