The Modern Movement in the sacred architecture of Wrocław between 1912 and 1933

Katarzyna Woszczenko, Adam Musiuk



The topic of the article is the modern movement in the sacred architecture of Wrocław between 1912–1933. Text, which is a contribution to the study of the problem of ecclesiastical architecture created in the capital of Lower Silesia in the years 1900–1933, examples are given of five structures – built and designed. They include both Catholic and Protestant buildings – the designs of the crematorium and cemetery chapel at Osobowice by Max Berg, the Catholic Church of the Holy Family by Kurt Langer, the Protestant Gustav Adolf Memorial Church designed by Albert Kempter and the outstanding, but unrealized competition project for this church by Hans Scharoun and Adolf Rading. These buildings are characterised by stylistic and functional diversity. Text provides a glimpse into the development of the modern movement in the work of Wrocław’s architects from the radically avant-garde visions of Max Berg and Oskar Kokoschka working together on the crematorium project, through the classically modernist character of the Holy Family Church built for Sępolno, to the functionalist style of the Albert Kempter’s Gustav Adolf Memorial Church and finally the ahead of its time, clearly not fitting into the categories of conservative church architecture competition design by Scharoun and Rading for the same church. Modernity, like the avant-garde, as a heterogeneous phenomenon reveals itself on many levels – from ideas to construction to functionality. An analysis of the buildings discussed based on the current state of research and an archival search including surviving designs and press materials proves that the capital of the Silesian Province not only did not remain on the fringes of the emerging avant-garde, but, with the strength of the local artistic milieu of the local artistic community, concentrated among others around the Royal Academy of Arts and Crafts, actively co-created the avant-garde, incorporating the iconic architecture created here into the framework of the extremely dynamic modern movement, which was developing rapidly at the time.

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