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Österreichische Zeitschrift für Kunst- und Denkmalpflege 2013, Heft 3/4

ÖZKD 2013, Heft 3/4

Österreichische Zeitschrift
für Kunst- und Denkmal-
pflege 2013, Heft 3/4


Buch Kurzinfo

Titel: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Kunst- und Denkmalpflege 2013, Heft 3/4

Untertitel: KirchenRÄUMEn

Erscheinungsjahr: 2013

Seiten: 165 Seiten

ISBN: AUT 0029-9626

Preis: € 18,00

Zu beziehen beim Verlag Berger



Clemens Sedmak
Die Sprache der Räume: Kirchen erzählen von Werten

Walter Zahner
„Ein Haus erbaut aus lebendigen Steinen“. Kann man Kirchen wirklich umnutzen?

Katrin Bauer
Wenn der Abschied naht. Alltagsstrategien zur Bewältigung von
Verlusten vor dem Hintergrund kirchlicher Umstrukturierungsprozesse

Thomas Schneider
Die Fuge der Kunst. Umnutzung des St. Agnes Gemeindezentrums
in Berlin-Kreuzberg zum Kulturzentrum

Bernd Euler-Rolle
„Denkmalkultus“ und sakrale Denkmale. Zur Wertsetzung für Sakralbauten

Jessica Wehdorn
Profane Nutzung von Kirchen. Der Baubestand in Österreich

Ulrike Knall-Brskovsky
Umnutzung von Kirchen? Wer erhält in Zukunft die Sakralbauten?

Oliver Meys
Denkmalpflegerische Handlungsspielräume bei Kirchenumnutzungen.
Praxisbeispiele aus Deutschland

Kerstin Gothe
Umgang mit Kirchenräumen in Deutschland und den Niederlanden

Wolfgang Schaffer
m³ Baukultur der katholischen Kirche in Oberösterreich

Manfred Keller
Kirchen öffnen und erhalten. Konzeption und Modelle der erweiterten Nutzung

Birgit Franz / Georg Maybaum
Kolumbarien in Kirchen und Kapellen. Gedanken zum Prozess


The Language of Rooms: Churches tell of Values

In the use and change of use of church spaces, a distinction is to be made between the religious and the nonreligious perspective. While for the nonreligious, the church represents a location for specific events or a space in which art and history are often concentrated, for the religious, this place has something to do with „practice“ and „abiding“. Thus, as a place for practised acts and traditions, it is simply perceived differently. As follows from quotations from the Bible, the church is a place of membership that contributes to a sense of identity both for the individual person and for the community.
From this perspective, it is less a question of the building itself than of the relationship between man and God. However, there is a spiritual law that says that the internal has an outward effect and the external has an inward effect. The extended mind or extended self theory says that things not only have a cash value but in addition are „animated“ by people. Churches are not dead objects but instead say something about the people and have a significance that contributes to a sense of identity. In all the various uses of churches that already exists, such as for concerts and exhibitions, the sense of the holy should not be lost. Particularly in a pluralistic society, there is a need for different languages for the whole.

"A House Built of Living Stones". Can church buildings really be converted to a new use?

Church buildings are gathering places for Christian communities, room for prayer and reflection for all those who seek – that means closed churches give out a wrong signal.
The pastoral plans must be completed by lists of church buildings of artistic and cultural importance, including buildings from the 20th century. Proposals for the use should be developed. Using these buildings for a different purpose should be the last resort for maintaining them.
The call is for a staged list of priorities for the reuse of churches: another religious use should take priority over public or private use (cf. the guidelines of the German Bishops’ Conference).
Legal issues such as those concerning an undesirable use following a further resale by the first user, need to be clarified. The already existing possibilities of the right to repurchase etc. must be developed.
The reuse or even closure of churches is not an internal problem for the churches. It always has effects on the urban district or village in question. This means that maintaining religious premises and reflecting on their possible uses are a task for the whole society.
Should all considerations and the financial possibilities argue against the continuation of the use as a church, a moratorium, for instance for 10 years, should be applied before sale or demolition of the church. Perhaps the building would then be filled again, becoming once again a „house of living stones“ (1 Peter).

When it’s Time to Take Leave. Everyday Strategies for Handling Losses against the Background of Ecclesiastical Restructuring Processes

The two major churches in Germany are responding to demographic change and secularisation by increasingly merging parishes, with the result that many churches are no longer needed. Costs can be saved by leasing or selling the property or the land and eliminating presbyteries. This affects above all churches and parish centres built in the 1960s and 1970s, a time of a new beginning, of the discussion and – on the Catholic side – the implementation of the programme of the Second Vatican Council. However, it is here in particular that the congregations are particularly active and the people closely bound to their church. The architecture, symbolism and performance of these churches gave direct expression to this spirit of a new beginning. If such a church is to be closed, given a different use or demolished, protest quickly develops: members of the parish mourn for their social home, monument preservers warn against the loss and even people who have hardly any relationship to the parish become active. Despite the advance of secularisation, the abandonment of churches affects people.
The paper shows the processes of change since the 1970s and, on the basis of the results of two research projects, asks what meaning and functions churches have in today’s society. Why is there such an outcry, not only in the media, when churches are demolished although the church only plays a secondary role in many people’s everyday lives and plastic churches appear more attractive than the „original“? What other symbols and performative practices demonstrate the process of change within the church and what effects do they have on the everyday life of the actors involved?

THOMAS SCHNEIDER (Brandlhuber+ Emde, Schneider Architekten, Berlin)
The Art of Shadow gap. Conversion of the Catholic Community Centre St. Agnes in Berlin / Kreuzberg into a Cultural Centre

Due to structural and financial constraints between 2003 and 2006 the Erzbistum Berlin was forced to merge a variety of their parishes. In 2005 the Community Centre St. Agnes was neglected. The Catholic church as the owner, withdrew their responsibilities for retaining the building. Following the inclusion into the Listed Buildings and Monuments Register of Berlin in 2012, the gallery owner Johann König acquired the ensemble to convert the building into a centre for Art and Culture.
The Catholic community centre St. Agnes was built between 1964 -1967 by the Berlin Architect Werner Düttmann. It‘s an outstanding example for New Brutalism Architecture. Its typology shows implemented simplicity and focusses on the human being, both from formulated principles of the Second Vatican Council. The interior of the church is based on a clear distinction between space and object. The space is defining a void but not its usage. To follow on from this logic, the only proposed construction measure we will undertake is to build a concrete ‚Table’. It will be placed in the main space and will devide the nave horizontally. With this minimal intervention the brief from the gallery owner, exhibition space above and storage / office below, can be achieved.
A shadow gap on all sides of the ‚Table’ and the positioning on the existing floor, satisfies the demands from the Listed Building Departement for the purpose of a reversible building function. The material of the new furniture symbolises a continuation of the existing materials used in the church. The design proposal will formulate a critical remark in the Charter of Venice about the treatment of historical monuments.

„Monument Cult „ and Religious Monuments. On the Valuation of Religious Buildings

When religious buildings lose their function and the question of their continued preservation arises, particular expectations or concerns – depending on point of view – are linked to their protection as historical monuments. It often appears as if religious buildings must as a matter of course be regarded as historical monuments. In fact, the origin and development of the idea of monument preservation has a quasireligious core that combines a high regard, if not even worship, of monuments with religious reverence. This is clearly reflected in Alois Riegl’s term „monument cult“ from 1903. The Austrian Monuments and Historic Buildings Act of 1923, adopted against a background of decades of discussions, uses „cultural significance“ as a criterion for determining value, which also means current cultural effectiveness as results for instance from the symbolic nature of religious buildings. In response, Paul Clemen added „symbolic value“ to the list of monument values in 1933.
Sanctification by tradition and the endowment of meaning through religious landmarks have subsequently repeatedly been regarded as the common denominator of church and monument preservation. In a time when religious buildings are under threat, this association appears to be losing its self-evidence, and the question of preservation increasingly depends on the usual scientifically-based state justification for monuments. In this, weightings must be made in the individual case that can apply the historical, art-historical, artistic and other monument values to a greater or less extent in justification of the interest in preservation. In an extended justification context, the symbolic, identity or cult values will also play a role – within the cultural level of meaning. In the case of religious buildings, it may be that these values are given more weight in the individual instance than with other monument categories, but religious buildings can no longer expect to automatically become a monument in the current social and cultural context.

Secular Use of Churches. The building stock in Austria

The problem of unused church buildings in Austria began with secularisation and can be traced back to the 16th century, when it was related to the Reformation. This process reached its peak in the secularisation activities under Josef II in the 18th century. Although the changes of use in the past often led – from the present point of view – to inconsiderate and incomprehensible changes to the substance of the buildings, in many cases it is thanks to this that many a church building has survived. Today, these adaptations have often already themselves become part of the history and an integral element of the monument.
This author carried out the first extensive stocktaking of the roughly 70 identified churches used for secular purposes in Austria in 2005. An overview is presented taking individual examples of the building stock, with a focus on architectural adaptations of the past. Architectural history, secularisation, ownership conditions and new uses permit an insight into the problems of their continued preservation.
The changes of use in the past initially mainly comprised functions for subordinate purposes, mostly for warehouses and depots, while residential use was and is found astonishingly frequently. There are examples for use as theatre auditoriums as far back as the 18th century. Today, there is a wide variety of changes of use for cultural purposes. Mention should also be made, however, of the fact there are also instances where the building has been returned to religious use.

Changing the Use of Churches? Who will Maintain Religious Buildings in the Future?

The question of „church spaces“ seems at first sight not to be affecting Austria yet, but there are increasing signs that Austria is also affected by this development. There is a particular risk in the merger of parishes, in the sparsely inhabited monasteries and in the hardly used filial churches. The process of reuse has already begun in many churches that have been handed over for use by other Christian denominations or that are also used for cultural functions. A number of already secularised churches have managed to maintain a public function. For many buildings, however, there is the risk of not finding a use that takes due regard of their historic status. Since the churches were used for religious purposes up to the very end, secularisation also affects the movable works of art, whose historical, artistic and content-related unity is destroyed by moving them to different places. An overview of the Austrian situation using examples demonstrates this development.

Scope for Monument Preservation with the Reuse of Churches in Germany

The paper focuses on the following questions: What are the most frequent architectural problems that monument preservation is confronted with when churches are reused, what possible solutions are there and where are the limits imposed by monument conservation? Most problems in the architectural implementation of the reuse of churches result from three central characteristics of practically every church building:
1.    Churches are large spaces. Accordingly, subdivisions are difficult to implement without considerable influence on the appearance.
2.    The illumination is based on the large space and its lighting. Here again, divisions of the room are difficult, since in many cases large areas cannot be used without new openings for windows.
3.    In many cases, valuable fixed elements such as art glass windows cannot be integrated in the new use concept.
The sequence of the examples (Holy Family, Oberhausen; Monastery Church, Hennef-Geistingen; St Bernard’s, Oberhausen-Sterkrade; Holy Spirit Chapel, Kempen; St. Peter’s, Mönchengladbach-Waldhausen; St. Alfons’ Monastery Church, Aachen; Peace Church, Mönchengladbach-Rheydt) is arranged as a convergence towards the limits of a reuse of churches that is still compatible with monument preservation. There is a gradual increase in the changes resulting from installations and modifications of the building substance.

Dealing with Churches in Germany and the Netherlands

In Germany churches are vacated or not used to their whole extent. The Protestant as well as the Catholic Church will have to think about the future of abandoned church buildings. They are looking for new uses which are structurally and economically sustainable. The scope of alternative uses is broad and ranges from change or extension of use to demolition as a last resort.
Some suggestions are given for the different stakeholders to seek the dialogue deliberately. To find mixed use solutions requires new forms of cooperation between different participants. This leads to new usage options for the church buildings.
Further perspectives how to address this challenge can be found when you take a closer look at the Netherlands where this topic has been an important concern for years. The public discourse there is vital and the state as well as the local government support suitable solutions. The private sector is much more active.

m³ Architectural Culture of the Catholic Church in Upper Austria

This paper presents a current overview of the regional building and inventory situation of the Linz diocese in the province of Upper Austria and a preview of the building issues to come, structured along the three dimensions of a building, volume m³, area m2 and distance m1.
The traditional building types of churches, presbyteries and rectories are to be the subject of change in the Linz diocese. Scenarios on further thoughts, approaches and ideas are being drawn up to address the dramatically changed structure of the Catholics in the Church. In over 600 years of religious architecture in Upper Austria, the cultural arch extends from the Gothic, the Baroque, the Rococo, Classicism and Historicism to the Modern of the 20th century.
Each successfully implemented example means new operational models that help to further develop the many differentiated demands for the buildings of the Catholic diocese in Upper Austria.

Opening and Maintaining Churches. Extended Use Concept and Model

Empty churches are threatened with reuse or demolition. However, are there no alternatives to these „solutions“? The „Opening and Maintaining Churches“ working group, an initiative of the Protestant Academy in Germany, sees positive opportunities in the concept of an extended use of church buildings. The aim is for churches to remain churches, places for the worship of God, spaces for reflection and encouragement. At the same time, they should be opened up for the varied activities of the parish community and the life of the civic community. Reflection today about extending use can also be a rediscovery of the broad spectrum of historical uses of churches, including as public places with „secular“ functions.
The first part of the paper sets out the concept of extended use by asking why churches should be maintained. Why does the campaign argue in favour of maintaining churches by opening them in two directions? Although the concept is not based on a profane and commercial exploitation of churches, an economic evaluation is also presented. In the second part, concrete examples of extended use are presented, documented in a small exhibition by the „Opening and Maintaining Churches“ working group. The paper ends with a suggestion for a „temporary workshop“ in which a joint process of advising the church and the public could be conducted – so that as many churches as possible remain what they are and should be: places for the encounter with God and places of interpersonal communication.

Columbaria in Churches and Chapels. Thoughts on the process

In our search for a Christian church, as we keep our eyes open for the mostly widely visible symbols, will we in future first have to walk past undedicated churches converted into libraries, sports centres or restaurants before finding a (still) consecrated place?
In the search for solutions for the transformation of Christian churches from the past into the future, passionate discussions within the church and in public have been conducted for more than ten years on the need for permanence and the opportunities offered by change. The extended use of churches offers possible solutions that avoid endangering the Christian symbolism that has reached into every village and every town for almost two thousand years.
Within the range of possible forms of extended use, the (partial) conversion into columbaria –repositories for human ashes – offers an interesting approach. The article elucidates the necessary process from the development of the idea to the decision to implement it from both the theological and the architectural point of view, illustrating it by means of selected examples.