Keeping true to his clean, minimalist and sophisticatedaesthetic, world-renowned ArchitectJohn Pawson has completed a sensitive and ephemeral refurbishment to St Moritz Church in the city of Augsburg, Germany.
Architect: John Pawson | Photographer: Gilbert McCarragher
With its foundations dating back nearly a thousand years ago, the church has undergone a number of transformations over the centuries, with devastating fires, wartime bombings and changes in liturgical practice all impacting on the need to pair the design back to create a unified result.
Pawson’s intervention aimed to retune the existingarchitecture ‘from aesthetic, functional and liturgical perspectives, with considerations of sacred atmosphere always at the heart of the project’. The result allowed for the existing complex fabric of the church to be pared away, revealing a clearer visual field.
In terms of materiality and form, Pawson has focussed on only the essentials and used a palette of mainly white, unadorned and free of detail. Lightbeige Portuguese limestone adorns the floor and monolithic altar block. In strong contrast, the pews, choir stalls and edging of the organ above the entrance are realised in darkstainedtimber. Finely veined onyx panels laminated to glass line the windows above the choir, offering a translucent and subliminal effect. The lighting design is nothing but well considered, with cleverly concealed LED lighting filling the church with a welcomed warm light when the sun goes down.
Although traces of Baroque history remain, Pawson’s sensitive conversion of the church is a welcomed update to the spatial organisation and atmosphere.
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