Autobahnkirche Siegerland | The Plan
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Autobahnkirche Siegerland

Schneider + Schumacher

Autobahnkirche Siegerland
By Caterina Testa -
ERCO has participated in the project

Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen and Bochum are all nodal points on Germany’s dense motorway network. An ubiquitous feature of the landscape, constantly traversed by traffic, the autobahn has almost become part of an urban street system of a city stretching across the country. Like other motorway systems though, it lacks those intermediary spaces that allow people to relate with their surrounds - places in which to meet, speak or simply be.
Although seemingly urban units, these self-contained hyper-functional motorway service areas lack a truly human dimension. They are conceived for the automobile, not for man.
Sponsored by Hanneliese and Hartmut Hering and designed by architect practice schneider+schneider, the motorway church at Siegerland on the A45 highway fills that gap. Like other churches on the German autobahn network, it delivers a fragment of the city with its services and spaces. In the midst of a service station providing refuelling, a restaurant for food, a hotel in which to sleep, and an arcade for entertainment, the little motorway church offers a place of respite, an area set aside for quiet and contemplation amidst the jumble of heterogeneous fragments of the city.
Visual and spiritual contact with a place of worship comes about in four different ways. The first, most immediate contact is the signposting indicating the function of the place.
The second moment of contact is the visitor’s perception of the architecture. Conceived to be immediately comprehensible to motorists driving along the autobahn, it stands as an unequivocal landmark, its traditional village church silhouette, identical to the pictogram on maps indicating a place of worship, becomes reality with its articulated triangular and trapeze-shaped white timber walls.
Once out of the car, the motorist is involved in a third experience: that of place. A triangular-shaped ramp leads up to the entrance of the church set on a...

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