Found project: Gemeindezentrum Stephanus


    Project : Gemeindezentrum Stephanus

    Language variant : Detmerode Church and parish centre

    Architect : Aalto, Alvar

    Completion: 1968

    Locality : Wolfsburg

    Country : Germany

    Building style : Modern architecture (not specified)

    Project on the map (green arrow)

    Description :

    The St. Stephen’s Community Center was to enjoy a prominent location in the market square, framed by a rectilinear network of roads. Aalto adopted his orthogonal layout and closed the open space of the marketplace on its northern side with a compact built organism. (An important role was foreseen for the dwelling tract that Aalto proposed to the west, at right angles to the community center.)

    In spite of the orthogonal urban layout of the design, Aalto succeeded with the church building in breaking out the existing rigid system and again developing the layout on the basis of the fan motif. Facing the marketplace, Aalto set a closed wall of Carrara marble, at the base of which a broad slab cantilevers out, forming transition to the neighboring tract and linking it with the church.

    Next to the church, he erected a campanile in the form of a freestanding sculptural object. It was never completed and remains a carcass structure today without the bell chamber envisaged by Aalto.

    The interior of the church, which narrows toward the altar, was designed in a deliberately restrained manner so that it could serve as a venue for other, non-ecclesiastical events in the district as well. No permanent seating was installed.

    The internal space also acquires its special character through the natural-lighting design. Daylight enters through a window on one side and accentuates the folded effect of the solid “drapery” of the rear wall behind the altar.

    Concern for the quality of the acoustics led to the most striking internal design feature of all, namely the eight-foot-wide, dome-like timber reflectors, suspended beneath the ceiling. Here, too, function and form go hand-in-hand.

    To avoid having to conduct christenings in the main church space, a special little baptistery was built immediately beneath the chancel.

    Roseneck, Reinhard: “Alvar Aalto in Wolfsburg”. – Alvar Aalto. Toward a Human Modernism. Edited by Winfried Nerdinger. Prestel Verlag, Munich 1999, pp. 149–150.

    Ed. Heikki Nikkinen



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    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Gemeindezentrum Stephanus
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski