Paraisten kirkko ulkoa

Pargas Church

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Customer: Pargas Parish Union
Location: Kirkkoesplanadi 3, Parainen, Finland ››
Completed: 2011
Area: 830 m2

Finnish stone churches from the Middle Ages stand out clearly in the world’s architecture traditions as their own identifiable whole. Restoration of these churches is a specific area of expertise at LPR Architects, the main function of which is to preserve historically and culturally valuable material for coming generations. The same goal is also furthered by functional and technical improvements. The challenge is to ensure preservation of the historic and architectural integrity of these fine buildings: new may appear new but must stand aside for the old.

The Pargas stone church’s oldest sections are from the 13th century, when a stone sacristy was built in the wooden church located at the site before the current one. The sacristy is part of the so-called Finnish Church still located at the east end of the stone church. Today’s church was built soon after the sacristy.

The church is among the finest of our churches from the Middle Ages, and the quality of construction was extremely high. The church’s main hall is large, its exterior measuring 35.7 metres by 19.3 metres. It is pseudo-basilica in form: the main nave is higher than the side aisles. The vaulted ceiling is supported by octagonal brick columns. In the interior the brick surface plays a visible role, and multi-column arcade arches and simpler transverse arches and ribs are also brick. Paintings on the church’s walls and vaults are located only in specific parts of the building. The entirety also includes a church porch completed in the 15th century and a catacomb built in the mid-18th century.

Renovation goals of the project focused on replacement of technical systems and functional improvements, including consideration of accessibility. Wall and ceiling surfaces were cleaned, and where necessary some surfaces were replaced. Historic objects were catalogued and a conservation programme was drafted for them. Fire safety was improved by installing a dry-sprinkler system in the church attic and replacing fire and intruder alert systems. The church’s electrical system, lighting and sound system were also replaced.