International Choral Centre

International Choral Centre

Architect
Ahrens & Grabenhorst Architekten Stadtplaner
Location
Hannover, Germany | View Map
Project Year
2015
Category
Churches
Roland Halbe

International Choral Centre Christuskirche Hannover

Ahrens & Grabenhorst Architekten Stadtplaner as Architects

By converting the Christuskirche (Christ’s Church), Northern Germany’s largest neo-gothic brick church, the International Choral Center for Girls (Internationaler Mädchenchor) received a new rehearsal space.

The Church was built by the Hanoverian architect Conrad Wilhelm Hase (1818-1902) as a residence for George V. The building has been taken as an example for many other churches all over the country. Since 1980, it serves as a monument of national importance. In the future, it will also be important for another reason: the nationwide and unique Choral Center. Therefore, a utilization concept was designed, groundbreaking also for the future development or revitalization of sacred buildings.

A wooden-clad tribune is now situated in the nave of the listed building. Climbing up 15 stairs from the bottom to the organ at the top at six meters, it offers 300 seats. The tribune can also be used as a stage. Underneath, an additional space has been created, measuring 160 square meters and providing a rehearsal space for 100 singers.

Conceptualized as a multi-functional spatial element, the free-standing structure evokes a new perception of the neogothic space composition. The church interior is not, as usual, entered through the main portal, but is now entered through the side doors- thus, passed by the rehearsal room to enter the main space under the cupola. The view towards the cupola and the chancel reveals step by step. Additionally, the church can also be entered through the re-opened doors of the lateral doorways. For further acoustic optimization, the cupola and chancel was supplied with acoustic screens.

The rehearsal space underneath the tribune leads up from 2.5 to 5 meters. Side walls from glass lamellas allow for daylight and may be opened when needed. The room temperature is controlled independently from the church and other rooms. A ventilation system allows for fresh air. For perfect acoustics, wall surfaces were designed according to acoustic factors.

On either side of the gallery, four additional tower rooms were reconstructed, each offering a detailed acoustic system and noiseless air condition.

Numerous supporters were essential for the 2.1 Mio. EUR conversion. Besides the Stadtkirchenverband (Association of Parishes), International Choral Center for Girls (Mädchenchor) and the Hannover parish, many private and public foundations supported the project with significant donations (Wilhelm Hirte Stiftung, Klosterkammer Hannover, Stiftung Niedersachsen, Walter und Charlotte Hamel Stiftung, Rut- und Klaus-Bahlsen-Stiftung). The Ministry for education and cultural affairs was involved in the equipment. This project was unique as this many foundations in Hannover never supported one project together before. In the future, the parish and the Choral Center as well as many other choirs from all over the world will revive the church.

 

Material Used:
1. Flooring of main choir room (underneath tribune): Floorboards of oiled oakwood 
2. Flooring of Tribune: Floorboards of oiled oakwood 
3. Flooring of Church (area of altar, area in front of tribune, side entrances, walkways on side of 
tribune, hallways, entrance foyer): Tiles of nature stone 
4. Wooden acoustic contructions on church walls and ceilings of choir rooms are unique individial 
designs of the supporting acoustic planner. In german, they are called „Fraktale“ – 
wooden plancs with cuts of various depth. Material: veneered oakwood, oiled. 
5. Separating walls of main choir room an church space: Half-timbered wooden construction, filled by movable (open/close) glas slats. 

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