T H E   C H U R C H   O F   S T .   M O R I T Z   b y   J O H N   P A W S O N


'The church of St Moritz has been through many changes since its foundation nearly a thousand years ago. Devastating fires, changes in liturgical practice, aesthetic evolution and wartime bombing have each left their mark on the fabric of the building. The purpose of this latest intervention has been to retune the existing architecture, from aesthetic, functional and liturgical perspectives, with considerations of sacred atmosphere always at the heart of the project. The work has involved the meticulous paring away of selected elements of the church’s complex fabric and the relocation of certain artifacts, to achieve a clearer visual field. Drawing on existing forms and elements of vocabulary, an architectural language has evolved that is recognizable in subtle ways as something new, yet has no jarring foreign elements.'

When I think of John Pawson, I think of all things illuminated and of open spaces filled with or enhanced by warm light, and a sense of tranquility. Having admired Pawson's work for sometime, it's truly his relationship with light that captures me repeatedly. His ability to employ and harvest light evokes a response and lends to experience. His minimalist and thoughtful approach to space, proportion and materials also never fail to inspire. All of which is beautifully reflected here in his renovation of The Church of St. Moritz in Augsburg, Germany. 

A favorite takeaway from this project and what I'm completely in awe of is in Pawson's treatment of the structures windows. Slices of finely veined white onyx where laminated to glass and installed in the apse windows. The stones function to defuse light in a softer manner and its affect, an architectural interpretation of the 'threshold of transcendence'.  

'The effect of this is to generate the optimum light conditions, screening out direct sunlight and bathing the space in a haze of diffused luminescence.' 

WORDS | Sanam Miremadi [ ChloeTouran ]

IMAGES | Hufton+Crow 

QUOTES | John Pawson 

ARCHITECTS | John Pawson and Jan Hobel 

LOCATION | Augsburg, Germany