Brutal Faith

In 1986 the Pritzker Architecture Prize announced their first German laureate. In a speech at the ceremony in London’s Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Duke of Gloucester suggested that the prize “may not guarantee immorality,” inferring, perhaps, that not even the most prestigious award in architecture could compete with an œuvre so compact, focussed and enduring as that of Gottfried Böhm—a “son, grandson, husband, and father of architects."

The Pilgrimage Church in Neviges (a small hamlet close to Dusseldorf, Germany) was conceived in the context of an invited international competition—issued in 1962—and a progressive client: the Archdiocese of Köln and, to be precise, Archbishop Josef Cardinal Frings. The resulting structure, which required 7,500 cubic metres of concrete and 510 tons of steel-reinforcing bar—along with its Via Sacra and surrounding buildings—is one of the most decisive, significant and unsung spaces of the twentieth century.

In this exclusive photo-essay by Laurian Ghinitoiu for The Seminar Room in LOBBY's fifth issue (themed around "Faith"), Böhm's Pilgrimage Church is presented as you've never seen it before.

All photographs presented in this essay are Copyright © Laurian Ghinitoiu and LOBBY Magazine (2016).

A selection feature in the fifth issue of The Seminar Room of the fifth issue of LOBBY (Faith), alongside a collection of commissioned essays and an interview with Maurizius Staerkle-Drux about Concrete Love (2014)—a film about Gottfried Böhm. This section has been edited by James Taylor-Foster.