A multi-faith house of prayer and study is being planned for the heart of Berlin at Petriplatz. The building will house a synagogue, a church and a mosque, all under one roof. This is what the Verein Bet- und Lehrhaus Petriplatz Berlin e. V. has been pushing for since 2011.
Petriplatz – centre of the medieval city
Petriplatz is one of the oldest squares in Berlin and the centre of Berlin's older twin city Colln, first mentioned in writing in 1237, seven years earlier than Berlin. In 1307, the twin towns on both sides of the River Spree joined to become Berlin-Colln. The centrally-located Petriplatz was home to the Colln city hall and a Latin school. During the Second World War, the square was heavily damaged and almost completely disappeared as the Communist government in East Germany cleared the square in the 1960s for new construction. In 2007, archaeological excavations began at Petriplatz, with the remains of five churches found. The oldest church dates from the thirteenth century, while the most recent was demolished in 1964.
Different perspectives coming together in a common place
In 2009, aware of the history of Petriplatz, the Protestant community that once occupied the destroyed Petrikirche came up with the idea of creating a joint house of prayer and study house for the three major monotheistic religions here. The House of One will be freely available to everyone. Jews, Christians and Muslims can hold worship here, get to know each other and be open to the urban society around them. The House of One is not about ignoring differences and contradictions, but instead learning to recognise and affirm them while seeking dialogue and discourse. In Berlin, home to approximately 250 religious communities and thus the most diverse of major European cities, the House of One will be a place for justice, peace and reconciliation.
A home for all
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.
Stones on stones
The House of One is estimated to require three to four million bricks in its construction. The budget is currently around €43.5 million (as of 2017) and will be provided through a crowdfunding campaign. Everyone can donate a brick for a donation of just €10. Once the first €10 million have been collected, the foundation will be laid.