Community Hall St. Nikolai

Newly built for community church St. Nikolai, Klosterstern Hamburg-Harvestehude

The new town hall was built as a direct extension to the existing, and arising as a solitary early 60s nave. A key aspect of the design concept of the town hall is to maintain the solitary character of the Church of St. Nikolai. 

The church itself is a standalone building with its own architectural language, but competition with the church was not the goal. Rather, the two buildings are in a dialogue with each other. This dialogue creates indoor and outdoor spaces that respond to the church. The emphasis of the church is always in the foreground. Relationships between community and church seem to change constantly. It creates new spaces that allow new perceptions. The church itself is not only maintained in solitude, rather, the architectural significance can be re-discovered and experienced by the new building.

The ground floor invites the public into the two-story foyer. On the upper floors the house is oriented inward and only leaves a few insights to the outside. The building closes at the top in a not visible from the outside roof terrace which spans between the huge church roof and the group rooms of the new building.
The lowered level of the forecourt reflects on the rear of the building with a similar lower space. This is a quiet introverted place. The environment seems to be hidden on the side windows of the chancel of the church and the adjacent vegetation. The clear distinction between interior and exterior spaces is obscured.

The design concept is characterized by a spatial meander that wraps around the community hall on the 1st floor and surrounds it like a jewel box. The auditorium becomes the heart of the building and from the various lines of sight sometimes more, sometimes less visible from the outside. Gold-colored translucent walls cover the interior, but on the other side they can also be somewhat of an indication of its size and importance.