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SACRED SOIL: THE RAMMED-EARTH RECONCILIATION CHAPEL IN BERLIN

Posted By Gretchen On March 27, 2006 @ 10:30 pm In Architecture | No Comments

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Risen literally from the dust of a divided Berlin, the Chapel of Reconciliation [2] stands as one of the most compelling examples of contemporary rammed-earth [3] architecture I’ve seen in a long time. Located on a site that had once been a deadly no-man’s-land, the Chapel is Berlin’s first public building, and sole church, constructed of load-bearing earth.


The minimalist oval building, designed by Berlin architects Rudolf Reitermann and Peter Sassenroth, was completed in 2000 and consists of a monumental rammed-earth [4] core structure flanked with a translucent facade of wooden louvers [3].

While the warm aesthetics of the building and its use of sustainable natural methods should be enough to please any fan of modern green architecture, what’s perhaps more moving is how these aspects have been used to serve a symbolic and spiritual purpose for its parishioners. Not only is the Chapel sited on the foundation of its pre-war predecessor, but also within its thick clay walls are embedded the remains of the former Church of Reconciliation which was demolished [5] by the GDR [6] in 1985 (citing “security measures” due to its location between Soviet watchtowers).

In comparison to the gleaming glass and commercial neon that characterizes the majority of Berlin’s in-fill [7] construction since reunification, its uplifting to see a structure like the Reconciliation Chapel paying such quiet homage to its sober history while also presenting a fresh (green) face forward to the future.

Those who are curious may wish to read a complete and epic history of the Reconciliation Parish as narrated here [8].


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/sacred-soil-the-rammed-earth-reconciliation-chapel-in-berlin/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.vineetsc.com/wp_inhabitat/wordpress/?p=678

[2] Chapel of Reconciliation: http://www.kapelle-versoehnung.de/bin/englisch/index.php

[3] rammed-earth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rammed-earth_construction

[4] rammed-earth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rammed_earth

[5] Church of Reconciliation which was demolished: http://www.kirche-versoehnung.de/englisch/history%20e.htm

[6] GDR: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GDR

[7] Berlin’s in-fill: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdamer_Platz

[8] here: http://gaiapolis.hit.bg/chapel.html

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