New Monastery for Cistercian Order on Tautra

The project is situated on Tautra Island in the Trondheimsfjord. It is a new monastery for 18 nuns, complete with a small church and all the facilities needed to make a living, such as areas for production and so on.

The clients are nuns from different countries, mostly the US, but all form part of the Cistercian order, joined by their common vision to create a new convent on Tautra Island. This island had a Cistercian monastery established exactly 800 years ago, but only ruins remain of it today.
An important aspect of the institution is the introverted character of the daily life of the nuns. This of course has architectural implications.
One of the first ideas was to create a low building with a series of
gardens, giving light and creating a sense of privacy and exclusion, while at the same time opening up for the spectacular views across the fjord. For instance, in the refectory - the dining hall - where the nuns all sit at the same side of the table, like in Leonardo da Vinci s Last Supper, looking silently through the glass wall towards the sea and the mountains on the other side.

The original programme has been reduced by around 30 per cent by eliminating almost all the corridors in the project. This has been possible by analysing the way the monastery works. Usually all the nuns are assembled together when they are in one of the main rooms. That means these rooms can also act as corridors and circulation areas.
Most of the rooms occur only once and have very different requirements. This also implies that there is a need for both some architectural freedom as well as daylight in each room since the main layout is horizontal.