The brand new Martin Luther Church in Hainburg, Austria is impressing passersby with its curvaceous metal roof, which spirals up and culminates in three distinct skylights. These windows to the heavens relate directly to the theology of the holy trinity and allow natural daylight to filter down into the main prayer room. Like in many of Coop Himmelb(l)au's past designs, the metal roof was constructed using shipbuilding techniques and then transported to the site for assembly. With a large sculptural bell tower and eye-catching lines, the church stands as a beacon of light for the center and Hainburg.
Located on the site of a former church that hasn’t existed since the 17th century, the Martin Luther Church Hainburg makes a dramatic statement in the historic city center. The single story church provides 289 sq m (3,200 sq ft) of worshipping space with a prayer room that can accommodate 50 people, plus a community hall, a small kitchen, offices, a sacristy and a church garden in the back. Folding doors in between the prayer room and community hall open up to provide a larger space for functions and gatherings. The shape of the building is like a large table with the roof acting as the top supported by four steel column “legs”.
Inspired by the shape of the curved roof of a neighboring Romanesque ossuary, the church’s roof is a modern interpretation, and used today’s digital instruments in its creation. The spiraling form was built in a shipyard on the Baltic Sea, transported in parts and then welded together on site. The interior ceiling was formed by molding metal mesh to the inner curves and clad with stucco. The three skylights are a deliberate coincidence correlating with the Holy Trinity and bringing light into the inner sanctuary in both a physical and spiritual way. Skylights in the community hall, offices and hallways also bring natural daylight into the space. A sculptural window behind the alter pulls in more daylight and provides a visual connection with the street. A sculptural bell tower outside on the street corner, which was also built in the shipyard alongside the roof, calls the church’s members to service.
Images ©Duccio Malagamba and Coop Himmelb(l)au