Tafelkirche Oberhausen: barely adaptive - great reuse

Bijgewerkt: 20 aug 2020


The Church Holy Family was completed in 1958 after a design by Rudolf Schwarz and Joseph Bernard. It is located amidst of an industrial district in Oberhausen, bounded by railway embankments. Two extensions, one with a weekday chapel and one with the sacristy, enlarge the squared floorplan of 25m x 25m. As one of the first Catholic buildings after the Second World War in Germany the architects adopted a progressive architectural language, both in materialisation and in layout. The altar was placed in the middle of the room – even before the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council. This suggests the image of a table where the faithful come together for a meal.

Today, the church is used as a social restaurant and a place for distribution of food packages for people in need and refugees. The church hasn’t been redesigned or actively adapted. Instead, the necessary furniture and equipment have been added pragmatically. The reuse of the church stays close to the original meaning; it continues to follow the original idea of gathering people around the table in an informal, spontaneous way. Thus; just another meaningful layer has been added. 📷 by Christian Huhn