The multifunctional church room
Furniture solution. The 40/4 chair from HOWE, designed by David Rowland, was chosen in the wood sort American cherry to match the church’s other inventory. For daily use 50 chairs are arranged in 3 groups and linked in rows.
Motivation. To fulfil the Church Council’s demands it was clear from the beginning that all inventory elements from altar to baptismal font, to the congregation’s seating, should be both flexible and mobile. The choice fell on HOWE’s 40/4 chair, because the chair radiates a dignified elegance with its light and simple design. At the same time the chair has a genuine history, which creates a classical emphasis. The decision in favour of the 40/4 chair was even easier to make due to the chair’s eminent ability to stack.
Application. 40/4 is set up in row formations. A group of total 28-30 in 4-6 rows of 7-8 linked chairs marks the church’s main nave and centre, while smaller groups of 10-12 chairs in the chancel function as VIP seating for e.g. the closest relations at church functions such as weddings, christenings, and funerals. According to the church’s leaders it takes 2 assistants just 10-15 minutes to set up or take down the rows of chairs.
Architect's evaluation. “It was a great strength of the 40/4 chair that the program involved such a wide range of choices. In addition, there are not many chairs, which can fulfil both the demand for classical values as well as elegant transparency. Furthermore, it was a condition of the choice that the 40/4 chair combined well with the church’s atmosphere and other interior arrangements. The chair’s functionalism is a part of its contribution, as well as the chair’s arrangement providing a graphic, decorative element in the room,” say the Martini Architects.
Client's evaluation. Pastor Dietmar Pistorius: “We have, during the whole process, had a trusting dialogue with our advisors. We were very satisfied with the choice Martini Architects opened for us with the 40/4 chair. We have particularly noted the chair’s sturdy qualities. Amongst other things we are very satisfied with the extreme resistance of the mat chrome finish on the chair’s frame. 40/4 is the ideal chair for our purpose. In total we have 240 chairs and, depending on our different needs, we can without difficulty set up the chairs or move them away for storage by using six dollies each holding 40 chairs.”
Troisdorf is a suburb of Bonn. Towards the end of the 90’s the town’s evangelical church, Johanneskirche Troisdorf, needed a radical renovation, re-building, and adaptation to the multifunction of the new times: church, but also concert hall, exhibition room, and community centre.
The project was completed in 2001 following a competition project by Martini Architects BDA in Bonn. Using few but effective means, Martini Architects has changed a static church into an open, spacious, and, most of all, flexible cultural building. This has happened by ensuring streams of daylight through new windows, by a division of the church’s rooms with transparent and mobile glass walls, and by optimizing the flexibility of the church’s furnishings. This also includes the church’s normally fixed inventory such as baptismal font, altar, and pulpit.
Client's specifications. The major challenge was to preserve the church’s identity at a time when church rooms also need to fulfil many other different demands. Culture house, yes, but still first and foremost church, specified the building commissioners at the project’s preliminary planning. This resulted in detailed specifications, also for furniture. Together with flexibility and elegance the furniture should primarily display dignity, sobriety, and seriousness. A fundamental principle was, in addition, that the church’s varying building alterations should be visible, so that the original church could be preserved as much as possible, at the same time making distinct the new additions and alterations.
“We were very satisfied with the choice Martini Architects opened for us with the 40/4 chair. We have particularly noted the chair’s sturdy qualities. Amongst other things we are very satisfied with the extreme resistance of the mat chrome finish on the chair’s frame. 40/4 is the ideal chair for our purpose.”
Pastor Dietmar Pistorius
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