Martin Luther Church
In less than a year a protestant church together with a sanctuary, a church hall and supplementary spaces was built in the center of the Lower Austrian town Hainburg, at the site of a predecessor church that has not existed since the 17th century.
The shape of the building is derived from that of a huge “table,” with its entire roof construction resting on the legs of the “table” – four steel columns.
Another key element is the design language of the ceiling in the Prayer Room which has been developed from the shape of the curved roof of a neighboring Romanesque Ossuary – the geometry of this century-old building is translated into a form, in line with the times, via today’s digital instruments.
The play with light and transparency has a special place in this project. The light from above is directed into the interior by three large winding openings in the roof. The correlation of the number Three to the concept of Trinity in the Christian theology can be interpreted as a “deliberate coincidence.”
The church interior itself is not only a place of mysticism and quietude, as an antithesis of our rather fast and media-dominated times, but also an open space for the community.
The sanctuary gives access to the glass-covered children’s corner, illuminated by daylight, which also accommodates the baptistery. The actual community hall is situated behind it with folding doors, on the entire length of the space between the two main chambers, combining them to one continuous spatial sequence. An folded glass facade on the opposite side opens the space towards the street.
A third building element, a longitudinal slab building along a small side alley, flanks both main spaces and comprises the sacristy, the pastor’s office, a small kitchen and other ancillary rooms. A handicapped accessible ramp between the three building components accesses the church garden on higher ground. The sculptural bell tower at the forecourt constitutes the fourth element of the building ensemble.
Like other projects of Coop Himmelb(l)au the roof elements were constructed with shipbuilding technologies. Manufacturing and assembling was carried out by a specialist firm for tridimensional cold deformation of large metal sheets. One important role model was Le Corbusier, for his references to shipbuilding, but also because of his La Tourette monastery.