The Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø is the Norwegian architect Jan Inge Hovik’s most iconic building. However, Hovig designed late modernist buildings in several northern Norwegian cities.
Jan Inge Hovig (1900-1969) was born in Nord-Trøndelag and finished his studies at the Norwegian Institute of Technology, Trondheim, in 1946.
Rooms for Togetherness by Norwegian Architect
The northern city of Narvik had been devastated in battle during 1940 as part of the Norwegian Campaign of the German invasion of Norway, and Hovik was part of the reconstruction of the city 1947-1950.
Related: Tromsø – Paris of the North
During the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Hovig represented Norway at the Architectural Exhibition.
The Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø
The Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø (feature image on top) is Hovik’s most notable work. It was drafted in 1960 and completed in 1965. “The shape, color and location let the building take command and radiate a rare power in the landscape,” writes Professor Einar Dæhli in his church architecture history book “Modernism 1900s”
The cathedral is a visible landmark to be seen from the Tromsø Sound, the Tromsø Bridge and when landing in Tromsø by air. The cathedral’s form is provided by the 11 aluminum-coated panels on each side of the roof.
The cathedral’s organ was built in 2005 by Grönlunds Orgelbyggeri and is masterly adapted to the cathedral’s architecture. It provides associations with sails and ice floes.
Post-war buildings in Northern Norway
Jan Inge Hovig also designed many of the most important buildings in Northern Norway after the war. He used teak, marble, copper and leather when he designed the Harstad Cinema. To meet modern demands, some of the structure has been changed, but most of the original elements, and not least the atmosphere, have been maintained.
Alfheim Swimming hall in Tromsø is built in a residential district above the city center. It is easily seen from the Tromsø Sound and the mainland towards the east. The pool component has large glass walls, terminating with a tapering roof connected to a second building which from some angles appears to be hovering in mid-air.
Jan Inge Hovig died of myocardial infaction in June 1977, just one week after his wedding ceremony with the famous television chef Espelid Hovin.
Feature image (on top): Arctic Cathedral, Tromsø. Photo: Siri Uldal (Store norske leksikon)
Rooms for Togetherness by Norwegian Architect, written by Tor Kjolberg