Shingle churc of Kärsämäki

Kärsämäki is an active municipality of little more than 3000 inhabitants in the sub-regional unit of Nivala - Haapajärvi in Northern Ostrobothnia. The first church in Kärsämäki parish was constructed in 1765. The church located at the most beautiful spot of the whole village, on the shore of the river Pyhäjoki, by the rapids Kattilakoski. This first church was rather modest and became cramped for space and dilapidated already after a short time. It was demolished already in 1841.

This recently started wooden church building project is a unique project related to building of wood, in which a new, modern shingle church will be built in the vicinity of the old wooden church. The project will follow the building methods and ways of working applied in the 18th century. The church, arising interest also on the international level, will become a significant sight of tourism and
wooden architecture, and bring old building methods and local craftsmanship to public attention. The project is realised in co-operation between the parish of Kärsämäki, the department of architecture of the University of Oulu and many donators. The project has received funding from the European Union.

The building implements the simple and rugged basic idea of the architect student Anssi Lassila, consisting of the "heart" made of timber and of the shingle-coated, black tarred "coat" surrounding it. In addition to concrete construction work, the wooden church project entity will comprise teaching and production of teaching material. In order to conserve the traditional wood
building skills, it is extremely important to pass the know-how of aged building professionals on to future generations.

The costestimate for the church project is 4,98 million FIM. A significant part of the costs will be covered in the form of voluntary work. Foundation, shingles, nailing, tarring and finishing will all be carried out by voluntary work, only
the load-bearing structures will be done by hired labour. When finished, the church will be, not only a place of various happenings and a tourist sight, but also a formidable proof of the power of co-operation and a tour de force of voluntary work.

Building work will comprise the following work phases:
  • Resinating of trees
  • Soil exploration
  • Chopping down of European aspens for shingle making
  • Forging of nails Chopping down of framework timber
  • Hewing of logs Making of square timber and shingles; sawing of boards
  • Tar burning
  • Making of doors and windows of resinated wood
  • Assembling of the building stage by stage
  • Finishing of the church
  • Construction of a parking place
  • Blessing of the church

Co-operation parties, in addition to the region's educational institutions:

  • Provincial state administration of Oulu
  • University of Oulu, Wood studio
  • Ministry of Education
  • Labour Administration
  • Environmental Centre of North Ostrobothnia
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the project Time for Wood
  • Sub-regional unit of Nivala-Haapajärvi registered association
  • Employment and Economic Development Centre for Northern Ostrobothnia
  • Rautaruukki Group
  • Suomen Kuvalehti
  • Torino University of Technology
  • UPM-Kymmene Ltd
  • University of Venice
  • In addition, several companies and private persons participate in the project as sponsors.