Bunkers of God. Concrete churches of the 20th century

  Democracy as Builder. Selected Buildings.



+49 241 80 95070




Churches in concrete were initially built only sporadically between the two world wars, between 1945 and 1980, but then in increasing numbers throughout Europe. The aim of the seminar is to take a closer look at this group of comparatively young sacred buildings. The form and shape of these sculptural-looking houses of worship are already highly sensational and provocative, sometimes even disturbing. Focusing solely on aesthetic aspects, however, would remain one-dimensional, because the questions raised by these buildings are much more multifaceted: with this in mind, we first want to trace the architectural-historical and historical preconditions. When, where and how did concrete come to the church, who positioned themselves and with what arguments? What were the official attitudes of the church building authorities? Was concrete wanted, merely tolerated, or perhaps even forbidden? In view of the fact that these buildings are still as hated as they are loved today, that concrete monoliths of all countries, times and types are saved from oblivion under "#SOSBrutalismus" on the net, the question also arises as to the influence of the time-related value attributions of the material, as to the emotional distance to concrete, which, despite its now ubiquitous presence in architecture, has always also experienced rejection. Last but not least, the question of how the preservation of historical monuments and the church currently deal with these buildings is by no means insignificant. After all, they have long since fallen into disrepair and are therefore in urgent need of restoration. On the other hand, conservation efforts are at the same time being called into question, because in view of the growing number of church retreats, it is precisely those among the unused houses of worship that have become unsightly and are most likely to face the fate of demolition.



Elective Module
M.Sc. // all semesters


Thursdays, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
Start: April 13, 2023

Accompanying Content

You can download the corresponding lecture content for follow-up purposes on RWTHMoodle.