0200 St. Hedwig Cathedral:
New Order in Appreciation of Timeless Values

competition, 2nd phase
Erzbistum Berlin
2,580 sqm
Muck Petzet und Partner Architekten
Muck Petzet
Tibor Bielicky, Christian Rapp, Przemyslaw Skrzypczyk, Wolfram Winter, Ksenija Zdesar

The St. Hedwig Cathedral has an extraordinary history of striving over and over again for appropriate, contemporary spatial solutions for their liturgy. The last reorganization expressed a new beginning after the almost complete destruction of the church and the partition of Germany and its churches. It was also an expression of the liturgical reform movement, which eventually resulted in the Second Vatican Council.
The altar as decentralized, vertical axis and as the connection between heaven and earth is the main idea of the spatial concept by the renowned post-war architect Hans Schwippert. This concept is consistently developed through the spatial potential of the high dome and its central eye of light. In our opinion, however, this captivating concept is weakened in its articulation because this spiritual, empty centre has also become the access route to the lower part of the church. Not only does the staircase cut through the nave, but it also robs the lower church of its spatial potential: The majority of the benches are set up behind the stairs. The gaze of the faithful towards the altar has to overcome this barrier.

These spatial, and ultimately liturgical, problems contradict the value of Schwippert’s design, which has its architectural details and furnishings almost entirely preserved. These details not only hold historical and material value, but also represent great authenticity and give a distinctive identity to the church.

The requirements that emerged from colloquiums through the process again shifted our concept and design. Especially the decision not to place the choir in the choir galleries, as well as the suggestion to situate the sacristy in an underground annex, ultimately led to the consolidation of our minimally invasive approach. We consider our main concept to be clarity and the imaginative development of that which is already present. The existing architecture and history become the material for the new layout. In this way, forgotten time periods are rediscovered and integrated, as in the examples of the hanging of the candelabra from the dome in the Church of Frederick the Great or the transformation of Clemenz Holzmeister that made the openings of the rotunda smaller.

The design of Schwippert and the traces left by the eventful history of the last century are fully preserved in all the details of the furnishing that can be experienced and appreciated anew in a contemporary setting. A new church emerges with valuable substance and historical traces of the past.


Muck Petzet Architekten

Architekt BDA Dipl.-Ing. Muck Petzet
Landwehrstrasse 37
D - 80336 Munich
E-mail: sekretariat(at)muck-petzet.com

The architect Muck Petzet is member of
the Bayerische Architektenkammer
(Bavarian Architects Association),
Waisenhausstraße 4, 80637 Munich,
membership no. 172838.

The authorisation to use the professional
title "architect" arises from the inclusion
in the architects′ list of the Bavarian Architects
Association. The architect Dipl.-Ing
Muck Petzet is subject to the legislation
and professional regulation of the Bavarian
Architects′ Law (BayArchG). The text of
the BayArchG can be read on the homepage
of the Bavarian Architects Association

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