Bieling Architekten

Church Seminary

Paderborn, Germany

The seminary church is arranged at right angles to the north-south passage of the newly created entrance area between the old building of the seminary and the extension between the Leokonvikt and the seminary - and because of its location, it is particularly exposed and distinguished . The new building, developed on a rectangular floor plan, is inserted between the old Leokonvikt building on the north side and the parallel extension in dark brick on the south side. It stands out from both of them on the outside - clearly exceeding the height of the foyer - as a white plastered cuboid.

Inside, the longitudinal axis of the chapel is traversed by a stone “carpet” that extends into the outside area both to the east and to the west. The parchment-colored, warm-toned stone material of the Dietfurt limestone flooring is sanded in the edge areas, but hewn in the area of ​​the stone carpet running across the foyer. At the eastern end, the carpet forms a low bank-like stone step across its entire width. In front of the entrance doors, in the middle of the hewn stone carpet, the holy water basin, shaped as a simple cuboid, is set up. It gets its light through a window opening in the roof.

The stone carpet, which runs through the baseline of the church building from the foyer to the inner courtyard, symbolizes an unfolding “Torah role” and thus the path of divine revelation in space and time. In this way, the bridge from the old to the new covenant of God with human beings is built in the Christian space of God.

If you enter the chapel through the low entrance area under the organ loft, you will be amazed by the soaring, elongated interior of the chapel. The upper two-thirds of the walls and the ceiling are clad with diamond-shaped wooden slats made of ash, which give the room a sheltering character. The light openings in the ceiling, as well as the room lighting with LEDs, remain hidden behind this lattice structure, which is blinded at a distance from the wall. The organ is also hidden from view through the louvre. This also runs through the fully glazed west wall of the chapel building. Benches running through ­ are arranged on the side walls below the wood paneling. If necessary, they can be extended to the interior with individual seating.

The special thing about the creative conception of the room is that in the rear part of the chapel the stone carpet grows out of the surface and thus becomes three-dimensional in wall thickness. It not only forms the back wall of the altar, but also separates a smaller prayer area from the overall room, which is closed by side doors and is intended to be used for the confessional talk. The walls are structured by light openings loosely distributed horizontally or vertically.

A niche on the back of the built-in accommodates the important late Gothic Vespers image of the seminary. It is the only work of art that survived the war-related destruction of the seminary in 1945. This secluded part of the room facing the inner courtyard is used for devotion to Mary and for silent prayer.

The triad of natural light falling through the entire church space (through the glass roof from above and from the side) as well as the raw materials wood and stone result in an impressively harmonious overall impression and, through the floating shell of the translucent wooden construction, gives the room an almost cosmic one Ease.

In front of the wall, which the viewer encounters like a “holy wall”, in which the right ­ angular tabernacle with its metal front is set in, are positioned along the longitudinal axis of the room next to the entrance of the ambo and to the west the altar. The principles represent compact bodies developed from the cube or the parallelepiped. Just like the holy water font in front of the chapel, they are made of Dietfurt limestone.

The altar block, made of several ashlar and made of Dietfurt limestone, has a “stretched” surface on the top, that is, its cafeteria, in which the relics of the diocese patron, St. Liborius, are embedded, shows a subtle curve, which in contrast to The side surfaces are polished to a high gloss. The stone material is transformed here, seems to be under tension, loses all weight. The emerging metamorphosis of the cafeteria area refers to the secret of "transubstantiation", i. H. the change that takes place in the celebration of the Eucharist under the figures of bread and wine on the altar.


Prof. Dr. Christoph Stiegemann, Diocesan Museum Paderborn
Regens Msgr. Michael Menke-Peitzmeyer, Paderborn Seminary