1930 – 1933
Architects: Fritz Höger, Ossip Klarwein
Hohenzollerndamm 202–203, Nassauische Straße 66–67, Nikolsburger Straße 1, Berlin, Germany
God’s Power Plant
Colloquially, the building was called „God’s power plant“ because of its unusual shape for a church.
The expressionist Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross) by architects Ernst and Günther Paulus had previously been built in 1929 on Hohenzollerndamm 130 in the Berlin district of Schmargendorf.
The Protestants in Wilmersdorf had so far celebrated their services in the assembly hall of the Cecilien Elementary School and were now also demanding the construction of a representative church building in their neighborhood.
The city and the congregation chose an undeveloped plot of land on the southeast corner of Hohenzollernplatz as the site for the new church building.
On May 31, 1929, general preliminary approval for the project was applied for from the building police.
In July 1930, earthwork and foundation work began, and on September 30, the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone took place.
In August 1931, work began on the interior of the church. On February 12, 1932, the shell of the church was accepted.
On March 9, 1933, the church building was finally put into use.
The tower as the highest point of the church is located in the visual axes of Fasanen- and Nikolsburger Straße, of Hohenzollerndamm and Düsseldorfer Straße as well as Nassauischer Straße.
With a height of 66 meters, it towers above the surrounding houses, which are only 22 meters high according to Berlin eaves height.
This height measurement was taken up inside the church, while the church reaches a height of 28 meters on the outside due to the community hall below.
In the construction of the church, thirteen reinforced concrete trusses were initially cast. The formwork timber planks were treated with notched trowel, so that when it was poured, a grain of the concrete was obtained.
Inside the church, the resulting grain was reminiscent of the ribs of an upturned ship’s hull.
Reinforced concrete was only used for the church’s trusses. The facade is constructed as a steel skeleton and, typical of the designs from the Fritz Höger office, was given a structured cladding using clinker bricks, which Fritz Höger liked to call ‚Bauedelsteine‘.
Red-violet, partly gold-plated clinker bricks with different light values provided the lively wall texture.
The green copper roof was set as a deliberate contrast to the clinkers.
On the square side, hand-laid clinker bricks in blue and mild blue were used, while on the south side, Bockhorn machine bricks in the shade of Chaussee blue were used.
In addition to the careful color selection of the clinker bricks, the laying of the clinker bricks also contributed to the lively effect of the facade walls. They were laid in Märkischer Verband (two stretcher faces followed by a head face) and in block bond (alternating stretcher and head faces).
The wall joints were beveled, which facilitated the drainage of rainwater and created an additional shadow effect.
Individual stones were given gold finishes as a harbinger of the interior.
In the portal area, to which a circular staircase on the west side of the church leads, the bearing joints are covered with small gold stones. The vestibule is decorated with mosaics.
Light and Colors
Entering the interior, one immediately notices the difference to the cubically compact exterior appearance of the church.
The carefully planned light dramaturgy enlivens the gothicized pointed arches and, in the alternation of light and shadow zones, creates a soaring, almost mystical spatial impression.
Compared to its original state, the interior of the church today presents itself completely changed.
In the original color scheme, the windows in the nave changed from bright yellow to red in a chromatic color progression from top to bottom. The sgraffito in the parapet fields under the nave windows were designed in a strong red with some blue-gray.
The walls of the side aisles were painted in bold red.
The electric light of the church came from hanging lamps, whose light shone yellowish downwards and bluish upwards.
Reconstruction and Renovation
In 1943 the church was completely burnt out. The stained glass windows, the organ and the interior decoration were irretrievably lost.
After completion of the reconstruction, which began in 1951, the church was listed as a historical monument in 1966.
Between 1990 and 1991 the church was extensively renovated by the office BASD Gerhard Schlotter and new windows were created according to the designs of Achim Feyer.
The church complex includes a parish hall and the pastor’s residence with partially preserved furnishings.