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Background In 2006 the Swedish National Board of Antiquities (Riksantikvarieämbetet) delivered its report on future management and differentiated use of Swedish Churches; Långsiktigt hållbar förvaltning och differentierad användning av kyrkor. The report was created consisting the discussion about the future use of the Swedish churches. In center of the discussion was the question: how to deal with the reality that the numbers of churches not in regular use is increasing? How to deal with this and how to manage the buildings? The result of the seminar and the report is the knowledge that the churches as the cultural heritage have still a very strong position in the public society and is regarded as public heritage in public room, which should be accessible to all people. The Swedish Church in Göteborg in January 2008, launched the report: A report on the future use of Annedalskyrkan and Masthuggskyrkan. The report is based on the agreement made by Kyrkonämnden in January 2007, saying that The Annedal church may be regarded as having its clerical use drastically changed. Different alternatives and strategies for future use of church is searched.

Epp Jääger

Transformation of Annedals church Transformation of Annedals church

CTH Architecture Master program Ark 145 Architectural Conservation and Transformation 1



The aim of the project is study how can a non-Christian activity fit in to a church space. The project proposes the library function in Annedals church.

Library is an open building there everybody has free access. Public library is the central institution in the democratic society where people can obtain and search for information both in paper and digital format. In the modern library the books are in paper, digital and audio format. Libraries are not only for searching for information, but the place for common meeting and individual concentration. Modern libraries enable different activities connected to working and relaxing. The activities connected with working are studying, teaching/lecturing, reading, group working etc. The activities connected with relaxing are meeting, reading, listening to the music, books, enjoying the art, eating and drinking and playing. I suppose the future library can be even a place for relaxing and meditation. Many activities in library happen in the open continuous space so that the activities are visually connected with each other not isolated from each other behind the closed doors. Some activities connected individual concentration demand sound isolation and can be situated in different floor level or behind glass walls.

The Annedal church have many cultural and historical values for the local people. My wish is to remain those values in the transformed building: 1) As a carrier of socio-cultural message from the time of the religious Sweden 2) As a carrier of architectural memory from period of raised awareness and pride of nationality. 3) As a public gathering place for local society 4) As a landmark in the local city part and earlier as a landmark by the gateway to Gothenburg. I have chosen to transform the church into a local public library as I believe the church and library have much in common: 1) Religion and books delight the soul. As it is written on the walls of library of congress: Liber dilecttio anime: books delight of the soul. All the libraries celebrate this delight – what means both institutions have same purpose, but they use different means. In the churches the meditation appears in praying - in library it can be just spent time with reading or relaxing. 2) As the church was not only place for pray for God so is neither the Library only for finding information, but the public place for meeting between the people. 3) As the religion had central place in the society, the church had great power and affection over all fields of life. In the modern society the civilizing and educational power lays in information. Library makes the power of information available for all society. The Gothenborgs public library have discussed alternative of local city parts libraries instead of having one big central library. Also the Medical Faculty of University and the Sahlgrenska Hospital future demand for larger library and research space makes the transformation of Annedals church to library actual. Limitations: The project considers internal space. I don’t study technical part of the project such as installation of ventilation, heating and elevator as well as special mechanical equipment for library.

How? The project disposes an internal transformation – all the changes is carried out in between the walls of church. The designed additions are detachable, except the sanitary installations. The history and the future meeting in contrast and cooperation as the building is old and the additives are contemporary style. The old church displays history and memories contra the new library future and visions that all together will be an utopia. My principle for the transformation of the Annedals church is to find and reuse the original qualities of the church’s space and fit the new functions into the existing room organization. I have tried literally transfer use of the liturgical spaces into terrestrial use connected with historical ones. Some retrospective changes are proposed to achieve the original qualities of the space.


Historical analyses





The time line beside shows several important changes made in interior of the church and finally proposal for changes connected with transformation.

Exterior Annedals church is designed by Theodor WĂĽhlin and built 1908-1910. It was situated close to new working class city part Annedal (built 1874-90). The site was chosen in order to make the church visible from the different directions. The tower was a land mark at the area. Annedals church is classical example from the churches built at beginning of the 20th century in the Sweden. At that time the “national romanticâ€? style was dominating in architecture, which means that in Annedals church the local materials and crafts have been used. The facades are made from hand made bricks from Skromberg, granite blocks from Bohus and dark stained wood. The window glasses are framed in lead. The roof is made of copper, though originally it was covered with tiles. The whole impression of the church is eclectic as the building represent different historical styles from Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Renaissance . The direction The Apse in South and chapel in North is very rare.

Rebuilding of the basement for the parish rooms consisted an archive, offices, waiting hall and rebuilding of toilets.


The rebuilding of the basement includes new glass walls that can be covered with curtains if needed. Two meeting rooms, a lecture hall and quiet study room will be built in the basement with own entrance from outside.

Interior The mine interior material is stone, white plastered walls and wood. The treating of materials has good handicraft quality. The excellent work of stonecutter and carpenter can be admired in many details. The characteristic for the space is semicircular barrel vaults and the blue roof, though not original.

Ground floor

The originally were was only one bench row in the nave. The church hall was spacious and wide

First floor

Benches were divided into two rows. Middle path was covered with lime stone plates. The crucifix was lifted up from altar . A new entrance for the sacristy was built.

The rood beam construction was reinforced which resulted in a new mansard inner roof and vaulted added things on the edges of walls.

The aisle were rebuilt for the parish rooms and divided into 3 parts which consisted a pentry ,a reception, a gathering hall and toilets .

The original spacious and wide feeling of the room will be recovered. The benches, crucifix and other religious elements will be removed and stored. A little area under the gallery is given for public toilets

The Eastern gallery will be used staff office. The floor will get 3 different levels. In the northern gallery the benches will be removed.



Historical analyses

The changes in roof construction resulted in lower height of the church hall. The national romantic paintings on the walls were over painted with white-gray lime color. The original illumination with iron construction was replaced with new chandeliers.

Long section



The aisle were rebuilt for the parish rooms and isolated from the nave with a double wall of vertical glass and painted wood panels. The lower part of the wall was made from wood.


The original height of the room will be recovered. The proper reinforcement structure will be added and exposed to view. As the up gallery will be used as staff office the noise problem will be solved with adding glass walls. The wall from 1971 will be removed.

Cross section Concept

The original gable roof had open truss construction. The beams were colored dark brown. The roof was high.

The original building

The church

The new function

Library Services

The rood beam construction reinforcement included a new mansard inner roof. The mosaic glass were designed in apse windows.

The new function in original the building

The library

Additional wall between isle and the nave was built.

The original meaning of the functions.

The church

A public meeting space ...The history and the future meeting in contrast and cooperation... ...The old church displays history and memories contra the new library future and visions that all together will be an utopia...

The quality of gallery spacious - to sit and have overview of surroundings - will be kept. The 9 different levels will be reduced in 3 wider levels (2,5 -3 m wide).

The significance of function is retained

The library

A public meeting space

...The significance of church as public institution and gathering place will retained and reenforced as the library is one of the most public institution in society .... 4


Basement 1 2 3 4 5 6

Entrance 2 Toilets Study room Group rooms Auditorium Main entrance

First floor

Ground floor 7 Children’s library’ 8 Book return 9 Foyer 10 Toilets 11 Information and loan desk 12 Open book selves

13 14 15 16 17 18

Journals, Newspapers, games, etc. Mediatec Soul Spa Library Cafe Staff office Music library

Coping and printing Self service info seek Self service lending

Studying space Lecture space Common library space Staff and services space Children space Catering space Hygiene space


10 5



Long section

Studying space Common library space Staff and services space Children’s space Catering space 15 Study room in tower

Cross section 0

10 6



The purpose of this study was to see how can a non-Christian activity fit in to a church space. The project proposed a public library function in Annedals church . The choice for library was made as its function assures a public space, accessible to all people.

Gram, M. (2009). Bibliotek och arkitektur. Arkitektmuseets Skriftserie. Publikation 9. Författarna och Arkitektmuseet, Borås

The project disposed an internal transformation – all the changes was carried out in internal space. The designed additions were detachable, except the sanitary installations. The idea of the project was the meeting between the history and the future in contrast and cooperation. Some retrospective changes were proposed to achieve the original qualities of the space. The study showed that the transformation of the Annedals church into the library could be realized without extensive changes and the church building could easily recover its original function. Though it has to be mentioned that more studies including technical parts is necessary.

Laubier de Guillaume (2003). The most beautiful libraries in the world. Harry N. Abrams. INC., Publishers. Riksantikvarieämbetet (2006). Långsiktig hållbar förvaltning och differentierad användning av kyrkor” - dokumentation från RAÄ:s seminarieserie 312-4154-2006 Riksantikvarieämbetets Bebyggelseregistret 2009 Svenska kyrkan i Göteborg (2008). En utredning om Annedalskyrkans och Masthuggskyrkans framtida användning.


Transformation of Annedals Church  

Suggestion for the architectural transformation of Anndedals Church into a Pulic Library

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