Notes on Haparanda kyrka (1967) by ELLT

The building was aways famous for the figure it makes, using copper like it was normal trapezoidal sheet and the direct relationship between the steel structure and the facade.

Sideway basilica

Positioning the entrance and exit on the side of what is essentially a distorted basilica is in itself provocative. But the proportions of the low wall, the slope and height of the receding roof and the tall nave makes standing in front of the entrance an incredibly strange spatial experience. I really don't think I can emphasize this enough. Perhaps the bulky V shaped entrance canopy was designed to moderate this feeling?

Steel skeleton

The interior is expectedly direct. Rooms and spaces are formed in the aisles by the most direct and unresolved means possible. The skeleton of the steel structure is fully exposed and makes the image of the unfinished open structure very present. The envelope is then just prefab panels stacked against the steel and covered with copper sheeting. Somehow there are no issues with gaps between the structure and the wall.


The building always looked like the Groke (Morran) from Mumin to me. I was really scared of her as a child but still looked at her page in "Who Will Comfort Toffle" (Vem ska trösta Knyttet) a thousand times. Haparanda church has the same effect. To strange and uncomfortable to be acceptable but still incredibly enigmatic and attractive.

Please click the images below to see more images in the same series. Or go to Ellt-Haparanda kyrka