Parish Centre in Podersdorf
The existing Baroque church would have sufficed for the 2,000 inhabitants of Podersdorf on Neusiedler See. It was the 8,000 tourists that this Austrian resort accommodates at any one time in summer who necessitated the erection of a new centre. The architects did not follow the alignment of the surrounding fabric. Instead, they set the complex across the width of the site, creating different spatial qualities on both sides: an urban square between the Baroque church and the presbytery; and a large festive area adjoining the open fields to the rear. A public footpath leads through the building, making it accessible from both sides. The two white cubes formed by the church and the parish hall are linked by a glazed wind lobby. Extending over the entire length of the complex on both faces and signalizing the unity of the two realms is a roughly 40-metre-long glass wall printed with quotations from the Bible. Great value was attached to a sense of community in celebrating Mass. The pews are laid out in semicircular form about the stone altar and ambo. The floor descends to the altar area, while the soffit rises. Narrow ceiling and wall slits allow a restricted entry of light, which helps to create a mood of concentration. A curtain can be drawn over the glass wall opposite the altar to heighten the sense of contemplation. Underfloor ducts 500m2 in area ensure an energy-saving distribution of air.