Spectacular new church made of wood
A SPECTACULAR wooden church is under construction in Holzkirchen near Munich and its architect Eberhard Wimmer says wood from sustainable forestry is absolutely climate-friendly— and timber construction is in vogue.
The conical design of the St Joseph Church (which will be completed next winter) opens up spectacular perspectives.
Wimmer explained that concrete and steel were unsuitable for several reasons. “The pillar-free, conical room shell covering a floor space of around 850 square metres could be realized at lower costs by means of a timber construction. The expressive materiality, the immediate acceptance and the feeling of security conveyed by wooden structures were also decisive factors.
“In addition, wooden structures with triangular spaces between the timber frames are widely used in Bavaria. Fish traps and baskets have been braided like this for centuries and captivate by their diverse forms and fine wickerwork with stabilizing rings and diagonals,” he said.
Wimmer used regional wood, primarily spruce wood planks from Central European forests, as well as beech for the timber-frame nodes and larch shingles for the conical roofs. The church is a low-energy building with passive energy use. We undercut the values of the German Energy Saving Ordinance by up to 28%.
“In the cones, we use natural upwind dynamics for ventilation; the underfloor heating is supplied with geothermal energy, the floor plate serving as a thermal storage mass. Further attributes are economical LED luminaires, greened flat-roof areas and trench systems for rainwater leaching. Moreover, we have looked for simple technical solutions in principle in order to ensure durability,” he explained. The wood of conifers, which are fast-growing trees, is primarily used for structural timberwork. “We have used larch roof coverings. In places, we have used oak wood for reasons of design or fire protection.”
When asked what importance did he attribute to wood as a raw material in general, his reply was: “That’s an easy question to answer. Do you know a raw material that is renewable and has a similar overall ecological balance and can be used as a material in such a wide range of applications as wood.
Just before completion: Wooden church St. Joseph in Holzkirchen nearby München.
The church made of wood: conical shape gives spectacular perspectives.