FR | The Choir Chapel – History of a Building Type

  Choir chapel Kornelimünster © Andreas Toerl  

In the Middle Ages, the form of the main choir chapel became an integral part of the complex choirs of French cathedral architecture. Miracles of stone architecture were created, inspired by the beauty of a geometry that ideally had to subordinate itself to the basic structure of an entire cathedral, but at least was inseparably connected to the ring of chapels of the choir, in which the main choir chapel had to represent a spatial climax of architecture in the service of the veneration of Mary. It became, as it were, the spatial counterpart to the two-dimensional brilliance of the rose window in the entrance facade. From this building tradition developed the building typology of completely free-standing devotional chapels, which were executed like large stone shrines for precious relics of rulers and prelates. These special buildings were used for the religious devotion of the rulers and pilgrims.

With these buildings, the rulers also made references to their own legitimation by alluding to the legendary heroes of the past, such as Charlemagne. The choir hall in Aachen was therefore not only the repository of relics but also part of the new staging of the imperial state in the Roman Empire of the German Nation propagated by Emperor Charles IV in the 14th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries, imperial rule once again took up this architectural form of sacral staging of the old imperial state by encouraging princes to add new choir main chapels to the choirs of the important main churches of the empire or to modernize existing chapels with baroque decoration. This last development of the choir main chapel is to be documented chronologically and formally with a collection of examples in order to understand the building programs and political background of the architecture beyond the baroque splendor.



Field of Research
M.Sc. | 1st to 3rd semester


Introduction: Thursday, October 14, 2021, 10am
Regular date: Thursdays, 10am to 11am, via Zoom or in Library of the Chair of Architectural History and on-site appointments in Kornelimünster, by arrangement
Submission: Thursday, February 17, 2022


Dipl.-Arch. Bruno Schindler
Dr.-Ing. Tobias Glitsch