Frenswegen Monastery Chapel
The construction of the chapel adds a new chapter to the history of the monastery. In the words of the architect: “Our aim was not to mark a new beginning, but to do something well-tried in a new way.” Important aspects of the existing formal language are integrated into the new spatial concept: the orientation to the east, the longitudinal axis of the nave, the old brick and sandstone wall, and the powerful, intact piers. New and old forms are combined in this concept to create an architectural dialogue. Constructional contact is deliberately confined to point-like technical measures, such as the new pile foundations, or reduced to simple, unobtrusive junctions in glass. The historical layers remain recognizable. The original Gothic space of the old monastery church, as preserved in drawings, presents itself as an ample, exceptionally tall and boldly vaulted hall. Compression arches and cross-ribs transmitted the loads from the roof and vaulting via piers and powerful shafts down to the foundations. To achieve a similar lightness of appearance, the transmission of loads from the new roof is based on a tensile structural system of slender steel rods. These Gothic spaces provided not only protection. They were also conceived as allegories of heaven and earth. Above all, it is light that symbolically lends them the splendour and dignity of a special place. That is why the theme of light, which dominated the Gothic space of the old monastery church, is also central to our new chapel.