Northern Lights Cathedral, located in Norway’s municipality Alta, is the landmark of the region with its modernist architectural style and its harmony with the natural phenomenon of northern lights. The 47-meter-tall circular building reflects the northern lights with its architecture both literally and metaphorically. The exterior lights on the building subtly change their colors just like the northern lights, and the titanium facade reflects them when they become visible. The interior design is also in accordance with the lights.
The cathedral gets its name from the northern lights because the city of Alta is one of the first places where the first modern scientific studies about the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis were carried out.
The world’s first permanent northern lights observatory was opened in Haldde Mountain in Alta in 1899. When a competition to build the Northern Lights Cathedral was launched in 2001, the residents wanted the winning project to be an architectural landmark as well that can highlight Alta’s role as a public venue where aurora borealis can be observed. And the cathedral was opened in 2013.