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Monday, May 5, 2008

ShowCase: Wuensdorf Church

From Archinect…This is cool.


ShowCase is a new feature on Archinect, presenting exciting new work from designers representing all creative fields and all geographies. We are accepting nominations for upcoming ShowCase features - if you would like to suggest a project, please send us a message.

Today we present the competition winning design for a new church in Wuensdorf, Germany by GRAFT. The church is located in a previously contaminated, Russian-occupied, area of former East Germany. The structure is intended to facilitate both religious services as well as provide space for a variety of other types of events. The following is a description of the project, with images and text provided by GRAFT...

Until the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Russian Army's headquarters in Germany occupied the vast territory in and around Wuensdorf. Closed to the public for decades, the area was left with contaminated soil but also beautiful landscapes where nature had been left alone to flourish. imageimageIn this area today, an enormous new development for health, recreation and sports is underway. The competition called for a spiritual centre: a church for confession that could be used as a multifunctional assembly hall or opera as well. Given the historic background of the location, GRAFT questioned the values of traditional form, known typologies and institutionalised solutions for this particular project. We focused instead on a Church design that would provide a new framework for increasingly complex forms of belief systems and we approached the competition with the conviction of positive change and faith in inclusion over the exclusionary practices of traditional religious establishments. imageOur belief was that no clear typology for a church, mosque or theatre should dominate the shape of the building, but that it should be present at the same time to create an entirely new typology. In the end, the formal language of the building communicated different religious and 'scene-o-graphic' typologies in its shape, without being literal. A diamond-shaped crystal 'envelope' was developed from three different geometric prefigures that fuse into one another. imageThis crystal envelope protects the visitor, but does not cut him/her off from the surrounding landscape. As a mental space for prayer rather than a real enclosure, the landscape has essential atmospheric importance, as it flows from outside to inside the building. All technological functions for modern theatre have been submerged into this landscape, providing complete flexibility for any kind of performance or service imaginable. With the sermon on the mountain as a metaphoric starting point, a natural auditorium and stage are created that provide the 'scene-o-graphic' background for people coming together in prayer underneath the sky. imageimagenorth elevation imageeast elevation imagesouth elevation imagewest elevation

imageGraft (L - R): Lars Kruckeberg, Gregor Hoheisel, Alejandra Lillo, Thomas Willemeit, Wolfram Putz GRAFT is a full service architectural firm located in Los Angeles, Berlin, and Beijing. Our collective professional experience encompasses a wide array of building types including Hospitality Design, Fine Arts, Educational, Institutional, Commercial and Residential facilities. The firm has won numerous awards in Europe as well as in the United States. GRAFT was established in 1998 in Los Angeles, California by Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz and Thomas Willemeit. Alejandra Lillo became a partner at Graft LA in 2007. Graft later opened offices in Berlin, Germany in 2001 as well as in Bejing, China in 2005 with Gregor Hoheisel as a partner. GRAFT was conceived as a 'Label' for Architecture, Urban Planning, Exhibition Design, Music and the "pursuit of happiness". Since the firm was established, it has been commissioned to design and manage a wide range of projects in multiple disciplines and locations. With the core of the firm's enterprises gravitating around the field of architecture and the built environment, GRAFT has always maintained an interest in crossing the boundaries between disciplines and "grafting" the creative potentials and methodologies of different realities. This is reflected in the firm's expansion into the fields of music, car design, art installations, academic projects and "eventings" as well as in the variety of project locations in Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, France and in the U.S. and Mexico. With a staff of talented architectural professionals and administrators, GRAFT has the resources and technology necessary to execute a project from programming to design and through construction, including construction documents, construction administration, and governmental agency review phases. GRAFT has rigorously undertaken an increasing role in programming, master-planning and urban design. Additionally, our firm maintains successful relationships, as needed, with associate architectural and engineering firms and specialty consultants.

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