1930 – 1932
Architect: Dominikus Böhm
Riehler Gürtel 23, Cologne, Germany
Dominikus Böhm won a limited competition in 1930 for the construction of a new church in the Riehl parish of Sankt Engelbert in Cologne.
His design envisioned a central building made of concrete on a circular ground plan, whose convex outer walls were divided into eight sub-segments.
The building is composed of a ring of parabolic wall disks, which are covered by barrel vaults with curved apex lines. The outer walls are clad with brick.
In front of the entrance area there is a wide staircase, which allows the ascent to the church hill from the Riehler Gürtel.
The elevated base of the church building offers space for youth facilities, parish hall and library in the basement.
The furrowed contour of the church, reminiscent of folds, earned it the nickname of lemon squeezer.
The roofing of lead sheeting, which Böhm had already included in the building plan, could only be realized in 1975.
Next to the church is a free-standing rectangular bell tower with sound openings in the form of four rows of stacked round arches.
Inside, the circular, smoothly plastered central room and the star dome were built using the then innovative reinforced concrete construction.
Together with Josef Franke, Böhm was one of the first to use the structural engineering in church construction, which had been tested around 1914 for technical buildings such as aircraft hangars and bridges.
The chancel extension is lit through a parabolic wall-high window on one side, which bathes the altar in radiant light.
The rest of the interior of the church is deliberately designed without windows and is only illuminated by eight circular okuli with colored glazing.
As a masterpiece of modern church construction, St. Engelbert influenced the architecture until well into the sixties.