International Choir in the Church “Christuskirche”/text


Location: Hanover
Client: Ev.-luth. Kirchengemeinde, Mädchenchor Hannover
Construction Period: 2014–2015
Work Phases: 2–9
Gross Floor Area
: 862 m²

International Choir in the Church “Christuskirche”

By converting the Christuskirche (Christ’s Church), Northern Germany’s largest neo-gothic brick church, the International Choral Center for Girls (Internationaler Mädchenchor) received a new rehearsal space.

The Church was realized by the Hanoverian architect Conrad Wilhelm Hase (1818-1902) as a residence church for George V. The building has been taken as an example for many other churches all over the country. Since 1980, it serves as a monument of national importance. In the future, it will also be important for another reason: the nationwide and unique Choral Center. Therefore, a utilization concept was designed, groundbreaking also for the future development or revitalization of sacred buildings.

A wooden-clad tribune is now situated in the nave of the listed building. Climbing up 15 stairs from the bottom to the organ at the top at six meters, it offers 300 seats. The tribune can also be used as a stage. Underneath, an additional space has been created, measuring 160 square meters and providing a rehearsal space for 100 singers.

Conceptualized as a multi-functional spatial element, the free-standing structure evokes a new perception of the neo-gothic space composition. The church interior is not, as usual, entered through the main aisle, but now leads past the rehearsal space, passing the room on either the left or the right side ending in the main space under the cupola. The view towards the cupola and the chancel reveals step by step. Additionally, the church can also be entered through the re-opened side doors. For further acoustic optimization, the cupola and chancel were supplied with acoustic screens.

The rehearsal space underneath the tribune leads up from 2.5 to 5 meters. Side walls from glass lamellas allow for daylight inside and may be opened if needed. The room temperature is controlled independently from the church and other rooms, a ventilation system allows for fresh air. For perfect acoustics, wall surfaces were designed according to acoustic factors.

On either side of the gallery, four additional tower rooms were reconstructed, each offering a detailed acoustic system and noiseless air-condition.

Numerous supporters were essential for the conversion of the 2.1 Mio.EUR project. Besides the Stadtkirchenverband (Association of Parishes), the International Choral Center for Girls (Mädchenchor) and the Hanoverian parish, many private and public foundations supported the project with significant donations (Wilhelm Hirte Stiftung, Klosterkammer Hannover, Stiftung Niedersachsen, Walter und Charlotte Hamel Stiftung, Rut- und Klaus-Bahlsen-Stiftung). The Ministry for Education and Cultural Affairs was involved in sponsoring the equipment. This project is unique as this many foundations in Hanover never supported one project together before. In the future, the parish and the Choral Center as well as many other choirs from all over the world will revive the church.