Columbarium in the Church of Our Lady, Dortmund Read more

© Werner Huthmacher

At the forefront of our considerations in this project was the question of how to create an appropriate setting for the rituals associated with urn burial while doing justice to the existing church interior. The proposal of arranging burial urns exclusively across the surface of the church floor is a simple yet successful response to these two chief concerns. The cemetery-like layout of the urnfield summons an analogy with traditional burials in the ground. Positioning the urn on the floor echoes the ritual of burial, returning the corpse to the earth, symbolizing the cycle of life and death.
At the same time, because the urns are installed only 80 cm above the floor, the existing church interior can unfold its full spatial dimensions and atmosphere as the dominant impression. The urn holders and pedestals of architectural bronze are reminiscent of the color of the former church pews. Every grave site has a individually designed grave plate made of cast bronze and can be equipped with candle holders and vases made of architectural bronze. The slight corrosion displayed by this material underscores the earth-bound quality of the installation.


Honourable Mention – Westfälischer Preis für Baukultur 2015
Award for Exemplary Buildings in Nordrhein-Westfalen 2015
»Best Buildings Award 2014«

Competition 1st Prize, 2008
Client Katholische Kirchengemeinden Östliches Ruhrgebiet, Dortmund
Planning started 2009
Completion 2011
Total floor area 1,900 sqm

Team: Johannes Thoma, Augustinus Clüsener, Bettina Schriewer, Christian Stöckert

Planning and Realization
Project Coordination: Thomas Schmidt
Project Management: Charlotte Stein
Team: Jens Achtermann, Anja Mathesius, Marcus Ebener, Daniel Pleikies, Yvonne Stanko, Sabine Zoske, Manuela Jochheim
Construction Management Coordination: Dirk Richter

Local Construction Management: Bergstermann + Dutczak Architekten Ingenieure GmbH
Werner Huthmacher