Arquitectura Viva
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Schneider + Schumacher, Autobahn Church in Wilnsdorf (Germany)

While on the road, can the typical stop to refuel and have a coffee or snack be a good opportunity to go to church? In the opinion of the institution that sponsors this ecumenical church on the A-45, one of Germany’s busiest motorways, the answer is yes.

Perched on a small hill, the building is situated in the area surrounding a gas station, next to a large post that advertises fast food. Its immaculately white shapes, faceted and kept close to the ground, shoot up at both ends where the two skylights are, creating forms that serve as a landmark for drivers. A bridge stretching over an inexistent moat marks the transition between the generic exterior and the sacred interior, a space with a surprisingly symmetrical square floor plan wrapped in a structure whose wooden warmth strikes a contrast with the coldness of the enclosure. Closely following the liturgy, all attention is drawn towards the altar, which takes up a chamber of its own and is clad in white, framed by the last arc of the timber vault and bathed in the natural light coming in through one of the two skylights.

Calculated with programs of finite elements, the inner structure has been constructed with timber beams and OSB panels, components prefabricated and transported to the roadway site in trucks all the way to this unique place on the Autobahn.
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