On the Petriplatz in the centre of Berlin, an interreligious building is being built which houses a synagogue, a church and a mosque under its roof. Its doors will be open to all. Over the next few years, a meeting place of social openness, religious tolerance and freedom will grow - on the foundations of Berlin in the heart of Berlin.
Petriplatz – centre of the medieval city
Petriplatz is one of Berlin's oldest squares and the centre of Berlin's older sister city Cölln, which was mentioned in a document as early as 1237 - seven years earlier than Berlin. 1307 Berlin-Cölln emerged from the cities on both sides of the Spree. At the central Petriplatz there was among other things the Cöllnische town hall and a Latin school. During the Second World War, the square was heavily destroyed and almost completely disappeared in the 1960s as a result of socialist rebuilding. Scientific excavations began on Petriplatz in 2007. Archaeologists found the remains of the Petri church and its various construction phases here. The first church building dates from the 13th century, the last church building was blown up in 1964.
Different perspectives coming together in a common place
A unique building is now being erected over the foundations of the 800-year-old Petrikirche: The House of One. On 14 April 2020, the foundation stone will be laid for a sacred building planned by Jews, Christians and Muslims as a common new church - for a dialogue of religions, but also as a forum in which the most diverse world views meet and are discussed.
The project did not originate under the aegis of large institutions, associations or central councils, but was initiated solely by three small communities of the three faith communities. From the beginning it convinced and received large donations from the Federation and the State, but also from a large number of private donors.
And even if the house will not be built until 2022/23 - it already has international appeal: The House of One Foundation has already started its work and is initiating events and cooperations with partner projects all over the world. It is impossible to imagine interreligious conferences without it, the work with children and young people is continuously being expanded.
In 2012, Berlin architectural firm Kuehn Malvezzi won the international competition for the inter-faith house of prayer and study. Their concept is to build a modern structure on the footprint of the most recent Petrikirche. This will house the church, synagogue and mosque, the latter two facing east. For common dialogue, there will be a central space for meeting and learning under the high dome of the structure. Underneath, the archaeological finds from the earliest days of Berlin's history will be open to the public. A library and a meeting space will serve as space for scientific work and teaching. The lobby and the "crowning" city loggia with its magnificent views will make the connection to the city.
A house for all
In 2012, the Berlin architecture firm KuehnMalvezzi won the international architecture competition, and its innovative design has attracted the attention of the professional public at exhibitions in Chicago, London and Stockholm in recent years. The future architecture combines a synagogue, a church and a mosque under one roof. The one at its centre will be a bright, high space of community and discussion, crowned by a central dome. In the foundation levels of the building, the history of Berlin can be experienced through archaeological windows.
Anyone interested in the archaeology of Petriplatz will be comprehensively informed from 2022 at the latest: Right next to the future House of One, an archaeological visitor centre will be erected above the foundations of an old Latin school, which will also provide important insights into the major excavations on the Molkenmarkt in the coming years and other archaeological research.
Stones on stones
The House of One will be a pure natural building made of millions of thick bricks. Yellow clinker bricks will be used to set itself apart from the red bricks used throughout Berlin. The wall surfaces of the one-meter-thick walls are only supposed to be affected by the incident rays of light; no insulating materials, polystyrene or similar are used.