Found project: Heilig-Geist-Kirche


    Project : Heilig-Geist-Kirche

    Language variant : Church of the Holy Ghost

    Architect : Aalto, Alvar

    Completion: 1962

    Locality : Wolfsburg

    Country : Germany

    Building style : Modern architecture (not specified)

    Project on the map (green arrow)

    Description :

    The overall concept consisted of a group of buildings in which the church and the community center were situated opposite each other to form a fan-shaped public space that opens out toward the road, where it is punctuated by a freestanding bell tower.

    Adjoining this to the south, facing the landscaped area, are the elongated tracts containing the rectory and the kindergarten. Once again, Aalto adopted the fanlike form as a basic design element, varying it in masterly manner.

    One of Aalto’s main aims in his church buildings was the creation of ideal acoustics for sermons. The concept for the striking roof form must be seen in this context. The curving line down to the apse wall ensures, in Aalto’s opinion, an ideal acoustic space.

    The most significant design element of the church of the Holy Spirit, whose vanishing point lies outside the building, is again based on the fan motif. Yet again a basic structural and formal motif is exploited with great virtuosity for quite different architectural purposes.

    While the interior is oriented toward the central square to the west, onto which it opens with extensive areas of glazing above the doors, and while it has large strip windows in the north face, it is closed off to the south to prevent direct sunlight entering the interior. The small baptismal chapel receives daylight through roof lights.

    As a result of the overall architectural concept, the church and community center resemble a large-scale open-air sculpture. The slender, soaring, open bell tower forms an antithesis to the tranquil space, which is closed to the north.

    Roseneck, Reinhard: “Alvar Aalto in Wolfsburg”. – Alvar Aalto. Toward a Human Modernism. Edited by Winfried Nerdinger. Prestel Verlag, Munich 1999, pp. 147–148.


    “What much of the High German Baroque is in respect to its Italian antecedents, this church at Wolfsburg is to Aalto’s masterpiece at Imatra, i.e. too much ‘architecture’ for the available amount of building—while its tower seems an ill-considered afterthought.”

    De Witt, Dennis J. & De Witt, Elizabeth R: Modern Architecture in Europe. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London 1987, p. 83.

    Ed. Heikki Nikkinen



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    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

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    Image © Arto Kuorikoski

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    Heilig-Geist-Kirche
    Image © Arto Kuorikoski