Finding light: an extraordinary Berlin church

St Ansgar Church, Berlin - a highlight of post-war architectural design

Berlin's many churches really do rank among its most interesting architectural offerings - particularly those which were built to replace buildings lost in WWII bombing raids.

Their bold, often somewhat austere appearance reflects mid 20th century notions of architecture and design, but also, perhaps, betrays something of a crisis in faith following the cataclysm of war.

Just how should a church look in the aftermath of what many would consider one of humanity's most Godless episodes?

St Ansgar church Berlin
Ornamental entrance doors in mid-50s style, Berlin

A case in point is the striking Catholic Church of St. Ansgar, which was constructed in 1957 as part of the extensive redevelopment of Berlin's Hansaviertel district.

Designed by William Kreuer (1910-1984), the strong lines and simple shapes of the bell tower and concrete-framed, floor to ceiling glass windows are offset by ornamental features such as the entrance doors in beaten metal with enamel detailing.

Period photograph of the interior of St Ansgar, Berlin

Inside, the accent on architectural reduction continues. The Stations of the Cross occupy an entire wall, but chief protagonist in this sanctum is light itself, the symbolism of its illumination as important as its space-defining qualities.

St Ansgar church detail, Berlin
St Ansgar, Berlin, entrance doors

St. Ansgar church: Klopstockstraße 31, 10557 Berlin

See also:
Berlin's modernist architectural quarter
Divine shopping at Ave Maria
An Expressionist masterpiece
A trio of extraordinary churches
A white cube church

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