The village of Muurame lies a few miles south of Jyväskylä, the town where Aalto grew up and opened his first architectural practice in 1923, so it was only natural for the parish council to commission its new church from the closest qualified architect. Aalto had made his first trip to Italy in 1924, during which he had been greatly impressed by the architettura minore of small, simple churches in rural settings. His travel mpressions are much in evidence in the church of Muurame, with the tall campanile on one side of the rounded chancel, the single-aisle interior with a barrel vault (originally painted black) over a system of joists, and the parish hall in the form of a side chapel to the right of the chancel. A staircase leads down from this room to an exit with a loggia in Brunelleschi style. The vestry is in the bell tower at the level of the chancel. The original 1926 plan included a 'rose garden' at an right angle between the church and the side chapel, a taller campanile, and painted figures in the entrance vaulting. These features were omitted, as were the intended apse paintings. Aalto worked out the interior with great care, preparing numerous detail drawings. The furnishings, designed fairly late in the project, took on elements of Aalto´s 'conversion' to Functionalism in 1928. Thus, Danish PH lamps were used for interior lighting, and the vestry furniture was of tubular steel.
Stavanger Cathedral is Norway's oldest cathedral. Bishop Reinald, who may have come from Winchester, is said to have started construction of the Cathedral around 1100. It was finished around 1150, and the city of Stavanger counts 1125 as its year of foundation. The Cathedral was consecrated to Swithin as its patron saint. Saint Swithun was an early Bishop of Winchester and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. Stavanger was ravaged by fire in 1272, and the Cathedral suffered heavy damage. It was rebuilt under bishop Arne, and the Romanesque Cathedral was enlarged in the Gothic style.
In 1682, king Christian V decided to move Stavanger's episcopal seat to Kristiansand. However, on Stavanger's 800th anniversary in 1925, king Haakon VII instated Jacob Christian Petersen as Stavanger's first bishop in nearly 250 years.During a renovation in the 1860s, the Cathedral's exterior and interior was considerably altered. The stone walls were plastered, and the Cathedral lost much of its medieval looks. A major restoration led by Gerhard Fischer in 1939-1964 partly reversed those changes. The latest major restoration of the Cathedral was conducted in 1999. Andrew Lawrenceson Smith is famous for his works here.