Church and presbytery
GYŐR-KISMEGYER (HU) - For this Roman Catholic church the architects of 3h took their cue from the context, a small hill topped by a baroque chapel surrounded by a churchyard.
Since the political regime change in 1990, dozens of new churches have been built in Hungary. Many Roman Catholic churches and institutes have been designed by Imre Makovecz (Hungarian pavilion, Seville Expo 1992) and fellow exponents of Hungarian organic architecture – natural, sculptural forms with many references to earlier traditional architectural styles. However, the winning entry of an invited competition for a presbytery and Roman Catholic church in Győr-Kismegyer is of a quite different calibre. The design is by Katalin Csillag and Zsolt Gunther, whose 3h practice is based in the provincial town of Győr. Since its formation in 1994, 3h has concentrated on the province's recovery and re-entry into contemporary culture and theoretical debate. This international orientation motivated the jury of the Ybl Miklós Award to select Gunther for its 2005 Prize. In Győr itself the practice was responsible for the refurbishment and extension of the local Audi factory. On the lawn in front of the white factory complex stands a cheeky bright red building with a ramp. The so-called 'red poppy' has since become the company's visiting card.
The premise of their church design was that the scale of the new building should not exceed that of nature. 'The work of man should not compete with nature, God's creation. The church nestles into the environment and thereby connects with life, the living. The churchyard and the existing chapel on the other hand connect with the dead and heaven.' By digging the church into the hillside, heaven merges with the earth, the town with nature. Another expression of this unity of nature and building is the ivy that is to be allowed to grow over part of the facade. The facade itself is made of earth, or rather a mixture of clay, silt and sand, which gives the facade a natural, irregular surface.
The most potent symbol of the Christian church, the cross, appears at several places in the building: a vertical cross on the facade of the bell tower, a horizontal glazed cross on the flat roof and a recessed cross on an inner wall; together they form a trinity. Inside the church a mixture of different kinds of illumination combine to create a mystical atmosphere. A clear, bright light entering the church through the cruciform roof-light casts a slowly moving cross over the worshippers below. A membranous light in the colours of the rainbow enters the church through the multicoloured stained glass window in the west chancel. Natural light is augmented by a numinous artificial light: the indirect lighting of the wooden ceiling panels is reflected back through the lamellae suspended from the ceiling, giving a diffuse light. At night, the ceiling appears to float upwards, thereby creating another link between heaven and earth.
May | 2005 | Hungary | Emiel Lamers