Polar Sea Cathedral

Year: 1965

Location: Tromsø, Norway

Country: Norway

Owner Builder: Tromsøysund Municipality

Contractor: Ing. F. Selmer

Designer: Jan Inge Hovig

Problem / Solution

Situated in the city of Tromsø and surrounded by the breath-taking Tromsdalstinden mountains, the Polar Sea Cathedral is one of the most famous tourist attractions in northern Norway. The cathedral was constructed in the mid-sixties and the special roof and main structure consists of lightweight concrete.


The most outstanding building feature is the inclined roof consisting of lightweight concrete sections, which enabled to meet important insulation requirements and to reduce the structure weight. The use of lightweight concrete allowed reducing the structural load about 50% as compared with a conventional rib structure with inner insulation. It was obtained a high degree of insulation with no thermal bridges, involving considerable cost savings.

Why expanded clay?

The church comprises a main 740-seat nave with a 90-seat chapel in a lower level. The architectural shapes derived from the analysis of the site conditions and from the need to keep a constant and uninterrupted relation between interior spaces and landscaping.

Polar Sea Cathedral (Norway – Leca – 1965)
Polar Sea Cathedral 1
Polar Sea Cathedral 2