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The Kópavogur Church

The Kópavogur Church was designed by the architects Hörður Bjarnason and Ragnar Emilsson, and built between 1958 and 1962. It is the oldest church in Kópavogur, the second largest city in Iceland, and its best-known landmark.

In fact, the church has been a symbol of Kópavogur for so long that it is even shown on the city’s crest. It is located on the Borgarholt hill in the western part of Kópavogur, a beautiful panoramic location that offers a 360° view over most of the capital with nothing in the way. The church has a Greek cross plan and is characterised by catenary arches (also used by Gaudì in his Sagrada Familia) that convey a sense of elegance and softness.

The lighting system is designed to emphasize the arches with an interplay of light and shade, created to be seen from both near and far away.

About 70 different kinds of luminaires are used to emphasize the architecture of the church in the best way possible. Linealuce recessed luminaires are positioned along the entire perimeter of the building to evenly light the bottom part of its continuous walls. Platea Pro spotlights, on the other hand, have been installed on the flat ceiling to illuminate the high parts of the building. And Light Up Earth recessed luminaires are located at the base of the arches to highlight their initial curves. The luminaires are all RGBW. The use of RGBW makes it possible to change the look of the church by bathing it in colours linked to different religious festivals or choosing specific colours in line with local community events, like pink October, for example.

A part of the luminaires has been adapted for this specific installation. The shape of the arches and the smooth white colour interact to create a magnificent spectacle when the colour changes.

The DMX control system has been chosen to simplify colour mixing and make controlling the lights as easy as possible. All the lights have their own address so a specific colour can be chosen for each luminaire. To simplify its daily use, the lighting system is controlled by a universal clock that activates pre-set scenes created in collaboration with the church. An alternative is a touchscreen that can be used to add, overwrite or change these scenes. The current energy consumption is 2320 W with all the lamps at full power.

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  • Year
  • Client
    Kópavogur Church and Kópavogur Municipality
  • Lighting project:
    Kristín Ósk Þórðardóttir and Bjarnþór S. Harðarson
  • Systems:
    Verkhönnun ehf
  • Lighthing Consultant:
  • Photographer