Church in Resthof, Steyr
The Resthof district of Steyr is dominated by large housing blocks dating from the 1970s. For ten long years, the congregation had to worship in a multi-purpose hall. Now the new Church of St Francis, apioneering ecclesiastical structure, forms the spiritual and cultural centre of the community. On entering the building from the forecourt, via the loggia, an astonishingly varied, flowing sequence of spaces of different heights unfolds. In the broad main space, which is lined with plywood panels, the congregation gathers around three sides of the altar. Window strips at floor level, and large areas of glazing facing the field to the east open the church to the outside world, allowing a flowing transition between the indoor and outdoor realms.
With their masterly handling of a modern formal vocabulary, the architects achieved a subtle balance between a sense of security and openness. The controlled illumination and the restrained detailing heighten the contemplative spatial mood. The only spectacular element is the powerful lighting installation by Keith Sonnier in the glazed tower of the chapel. At dusk, the church becomes a landmark in the neighbourhood.
Topics: The Path to a New Church Building; Creating New Spatial Dimensions; Structural Concept; Landscape and Space; The Light Installation Tears for St. Francis