Vorstadtikone – St. Hubertus by Gottfried Böhm. Visiting the "Backenzahn"Copyright: © Graphics team "Vorstadtikone"
Vorstadtikone – St. Hubertus by Gottfried Böhm. Visiting the "Backenzahn"
At the foot of Aachen's Kronenberg there is the Church of St. Hubertus, completed in 1964 – an architectural gem designed by Gottfried Böhm. Once a lively quarter church, the building, sometimes referred to as the "Backenzahn" in the local vernacular, is now rarely used. The Chair of Architectural History has dedicated two whole semesters to this "suburban icon" in the form of a combinatorial design as well as a student research and exhibition project.
In the first part of the project, the participating students had to develop an – initially fictitious – alternative use for the church building and the insula. The spatial and functional potential of the formerly slate-covered "concrete rock" was to be explored and convincing visions were to be drawn up that would turn this place, which was actually intended to be the centre of the district, into a lively centre of attraction again. The result were five concepts for reuse and design worthy of discussion, all of which respect the listed church building but structurally complement it in totally different ways.
In the second part of the project and under the title "Vorstadtikone", an exhibition about the church of St. Hubertus in and around the church of St. Hubertus was realized. The declared aim of the exhibition is to create an awareness, even an appreciation, for this rather unknown and perhaps partly misunderstood building with regard to its extraordinary architectural language.
To this end, we are opening the doors and gates of the church together with the parish until September 11: all interested parties – whether parishioners, citizens, architects, etc. – are cordially invited to explore its expressive exterior and atmospheric interior. Individual stations will provide information about the (in part certainly surprising) special characteristics of the building and also illustrate whether and to what extent changes have been made at the relevant points compared to Gottfried Böhm's original planning. Ultimately, it is the church building itself that becomes an exhibition object in the scale of 1:1.
Two special exhibition areas complement the church stations. Under the organ gallery, the "Böhm Pergola" will introduce visitors to the life and work of the architect and provide an architectural-historical classification of St. Hubertus in the series of his sacral oeuvre. In the baptistery, which can always be read as a place of renewal, the students' visions for the future of the church and the insula mentioned at the beginning will be presented. With the latter part of the exhibition, we would like to encourage all those interested and involved to actively think about the future of this "Vorstadtikone", which is so valuable in many aspects, and – wherever possible – to actively participate in its development.
Date and Venue
The exhibition (Händelstr. 6, 52074 Aachen) is open to the public on the following Saturdays during the summer period:
July 9 / July 23 / August 6 / August 20 / September 3
Last opening: Sunday, September 11, 2022, 10am to 3pm (Monument's Day / "Tag des offenen Denkmals")
The vernissage has already taken place on Saturday, June 25, 2022
Student Project Team
Fiona Cordes, Lara Draschoff, Hana ElKabbany, Wenyi Kang, Sijia Li, Franziska Müller, Annika Reichstein, Britta Schebesta, Aliena Werkes
Project Idea and Supervision
The Architecture of the "Vorstadtikone"
This short film about the architecture of the "Vorstadtikone" was created as part of our homonymous exhibition about the church St. Hubertus by Gottfried Böhm in Aachen, which can be seen in the church itself from June 25 to September 11, 2022. We would like to thank the parish of St. Hubertus for the opportunity to host the exhibition in their church.
A Conversation with Paul Böhm
The film "A Conversation with Paul Böhm" was produced as part of our exhibition "Vorstadtikone". We would like to thank Prof. Paul Böhm for his willingness to host us for an interview.
Faces of the Kronenberg
The film "Faces of the Kronenberg" was produced as part of the exhibition "Vorstadtikone". We would like to thank Doris Brück, Anette Clahsen, Frank Dillmann and Hannah Rosenstein for their willingness to share their impressions with us.