Kirche am Hohenzollernplatz
Kirche am Hohenzollernplatz (Church at Hohenzollernplatz ) is the church of the Evangelical
Prussian Union (Evangelical Christian Church)
The Prussian Union was the merger of the Lutheran Church and the Reformed Church in Prussia, by a series of decrees – among them the Unionsurkunde – by King Frederick William III...

 Congregation at Hohenzollernplatz, a member of today's Protestant umbrella Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia
Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia
The Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia is a Protestant church body in the German states of Brandenburg, Berlin and a part of Saxony. The seat of the church is in Berlin. It is the most important Protestant denomination in the area....

. The church is located at the eastern side of Hohenzollernplatz square in the locality of Wilmersdorf
Wilmersdorf is an inner city locality of Berlin, formerly a borough by itself but since Berlin's 2001 administrative reform a part of the new borough of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.-History:...

, in Berlin's borough of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf
Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is the fourth borough of Berlin, formed in the 2001 administrative reform by merging the former boroughs of Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf.-Overview:Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf covers the western centre of the City of Berlin...

. The building is considered one of the main pieces of Brick Expressionism
Brick Expressionism
The term Brick Expressionism describes a specific variant of expressionist architecture that uses bricks, tiles or clinker bricks as the main visible building material...

. And it is a testimonial of unique quality of expressionist church architecture in Berlin. The naming of the church after the square was originally a solution for the time being, until another name might be chosen. Meanwhile the name has become a brand, even though the debate goes on.

Church and architect

Due to the high number of new parishioners moving in during the first third of the 20th c. the existing three churches, to wit Auenkirche, High Master Church, and Church of the Cross, never sufficed to contain the congregants of the Evangelical Wilmersdorf Congregation .

In 1927 the then wealthy congregation, whose parish then comprised the locality of Wilmersdorf, therefore decided to build an additional church in the north of its parish. The congregation tendered a competition and the architecture firms of Otto Bartning
Otto Bartning
Otto Bartning was a Modernist German architect, architectural theorist and teacher. In his early career he developed plans with Walter Gropius for the establishment of the Bauhaus. He was a member of Der Ring...

, Hellmuth Grisebach, Fritz Höger, Otto Kuhlmann , Leo Lottermoser and Hans Rottmayr handed in their projects.

Höger prevailed with the design of the architect Ossip Klarwein , who started to work with Höger by 1921, with the design altered by the latter. Klarwein was chief designer in Höger's firm and – according to his contract – all his designs were issued under Höger's name.
The congregation commissioned the Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

-based architecture firm of Höger. So Klarwein moved to Joachim-Friedrich-Straße No. 47 (Berlin), shortly before the constructions started, in order to supervise the realisation of the design. The construction lasted from 1930 to 1933. On 19 March 1933 the church was inaugurated, soon after Klarwein, his wife and son Mati
Mati Klarwein
Abdul Mati Klarwein was a painter best known for his works used on the covers of music albums.-Biography:...

 emigrated to Mandatory Palestine, because of the Nazi takeover (Machtergreifung
Machtergreifung is a German word meaning "seizure of power". It is normally used specifically to refer to the Nazi takeover of power in the democratic Weimar Republic on 30 January 1933, the day Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany, turning it into the Nazi German dictatorship.-Term:The...


The design of the church

The modern design was much under debate already long before the constructions started. The basic structure of the church is a concrete skeleton, clad by the façades, finely structured on the long sides and of even masonry on the narrow sides, all in clinker brick
Clinker brick
Clinker bricks are partially vitrified brick stones used in the construction of buildings.Clinkers are burnt under temperatures so high that the pores of the fuel property are closed by the beginning sinter process. Thus they are considerably denser and therefore heavier than regular bricks...

. Höger preferred that material. The hip roof of verdigris
Verdigris is the common name for a green pigment obtained through the application of acetic acid to copper plates or the natural patina formed when copper, brass or bronze is weathered and exposed to air or seawater over a period of time. It is usually a basic copper carbonate, but near the sea...

 copper contrasts with the dark reddish brick. The slim and high tower, being a landmark seen through much of Hohenzollerndamm thoroughfare and other streets, is connected to the northeastern corner of the actual building.
The actual prayer hall is elevated, because the ground floor harbours a fellowship hall. The entrance at the western side is flanked both sides by the cladding of the two round stair cases. A semicircular flight of stairs leads to the ogival
An ogive is the roundly tapered end of a two-dimensional or three-dimensional object.-Applied physical science and engineering:In ballistics or aerodynamics, an ogive is a pointed, curved surface mainly used to form the approximately streamlined nose of a bullet or other projectile.The traditional...

 main portal, which announces the dominant forms of the interior. The complete appearance is a good eye-catching flank to the eastern side of the square of Hohenzollernplatz.

The interior of the huge nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

 is structured by 13 girder
A girder is a support beam used in construction. Girders often have an I-beam cross section for strength, but may also have a box shape, Z shape or other forms. Girder is the term used to denote the main horizontal support of a structure which supports smaller beams...

s of ferroconcrete, which end as pilaster
A pilaster is a slightly-projecting column built into or applied to the face of a wall. Most commonly flattened or rectangular in form, pilasters can also take a half-round form or the shape of any type of column, including tortile....

s on the ground. Starting from the entrance in the west the girders give the impression to taper towards the east. The ogival form of the girders grants the interior a kind of Gothic, very modern though, appeal. This form evoked certain mysticism, which is unusual for the rather sober Protestant church architecture of those years. This and the modern as well as voluminous appearance earned the church the nickname Powerhouse of God .

The Allied bombing of Berlin in World War II inflicted severe damage on the church. In 1943 the church burnt out. The reconstruction proceeded gradually until 1965. Services
Service of worship
In the Protestant denominations of Christianity, a service of worship is a meeting whose primary purpose is the worship of God. The phrase is normally shortened to service. It is also commonly called a worship service...

 were then held in the fellowship hall below the actual prayer hall. The architect Gerhard Schlotter submitted the church to a renovation and rebuild in 1990/1991, in order also to prepare it for its usage for exhibitions of contemporary art. Schlotter brightened up the prayer hall in the colours used before the destruction.


Prof. Hermann Sandkuhl  created sgraffiti
Sgraffito is a technique either of wall decor, produced by applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colors to a moistened surface, or in ceramics, by applying to an unfired ceramic body two successive layers of contrasting slip, and then in either case scratching so as to produce an...

, displaying different figures in the intermediate spaces between the pilasters, all lost in the fire in 1943. The tympanon
Tympanum (architecture)
In architecture, a tympanum is the semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance, bounded by a lintel and arch. It often contains sculpture or other imagery or ornaments. Most architectural styles include this element....

 of the last, somewhat smaller girder, opening towards the oriented
Orientation of Churches
The orientation of churches is the architectural feature of facing churches towards the east .The Jewish custom of fixing the direction of prayer and orienting synagogues influenced Christianity during its formative years. In early Christianity, it was customary to pray facing toward the Holy Land...

 quire, showed a painting of the Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew...

, depicting Jesus of Nazareth with a corona of light by Erich Waske , which was also lost in 1943. The prayer hall is illuminated by three long windows in the quire
Quire (architecture)
Architecturally, the choir is the area of a church or cathedral, usually in the western part of the chancel between the nave and the sanctuary . The choir is occasionally located in the eastern part of the nave...

. The original windows were blasted away by the bombs. In 1962 Sigmund Hahn designed a new central quire window. In the course of the renovation of 1990/1991 Achim Freyer  added a new right and left colourful quire window. Höger's Baptismal font
Baptismal font
A baptismal font is an article of church furniture or a fixture used for the baptism of children and adults.-Aspersion and affusion fonts:...

 of clinker brick
Clinker brick
Clinker bricks are partially vitrified brick stones used in the construction of buildings.Clinkers are burnt under temperatures so high that the pores of the fuel property are closed by the beginning sinter process. Thus they are considerably denser and therefore heavier than regular bricks...

 with gold paintings on it survived. Regina Roskoden's abstract basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

 sculpture of an angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

, graphics by Max Pechstein
Max Pechstein
Hermann Max Pechstein was a German expressionist painter and printmaker, and a member of Die Brücke group.-Life and career:...

 and a painting of the crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 by Hermann Krauth are shown in a by-room.
Considerable offertories of the parishioners enabled to buy a new organ of 60 registers by E. Kemper & Sohn, installed after 1965 and requiring the removal of the second western loft gallery of seats.

The congregation in the Nazi era

Two pastors at the church joined the Confessing Church
Confessing Church
The Confessing Church was a Protestant schismatic church in Nazi Germany that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to nazify the German Protestant church.-Demographics:...

. In 1937 they invited Pastor Martin Niemöller
Martin Niemöller
Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller was a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor. He is best known as the author of the poem "First they came…"....

, the head of the consequent Protestant opposition against Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

, to preach in their church.

Congregation today

On 1 April 1946 the northern part of the parish of the Wilmersdorf Congregation was constituted as today's Congregation at Hohenzollernplatz , becoming the proprietor of the ruined church. Since 1987 the church is also open for exhibitions of contemporary art, two of which are shown every year. Art plays an important role for the congregation, thus there are also services referring to art. In 1991 the organ builder Sauer reintonated the Kemper organ, which is regularly used in the services and for concerts. Since November 2008 every Saturday at 12.00 the "NoonSong" – a 30 minutes lasting liturgy sung by the professional vocal ensemble sirventes berlin – attracts hundreds of listeners.


The church is nicknamed "God's power house" ("Kraftwerk Gottes") by the Berlin inhabitants due to its appearance.

External links

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