|Werner M. Moser - Switzerland|
Lutheranean Church and Parish Centre
Pfarrhausstrasse 19 / 21
1936 - 1942
The Lutheranean Church in Zurich Altstetten is one of the most prominent buildings by Werner M. Moser. The building received international recognition
and has been described by E. Kidder Smith as "unquestionably the finest modern church in Switzerland, and possibly anywhere else". Additionaly, this church
was represented in the most important contemporary compendiums of modern Swiss architecture. The building is great importance, not only due to the spatial form
developed by Werner M. Moser, but also because of the non-dogmatic combination of modern and conventional materials and shapes. This attitude is particularly important,
since the building is located on a small hill, which was already populated in Roman times. The church of the village was in this place already since the 11th century.
A lengthy planning process was necessary to realize the Church. This process then focused on the approach in relation to the existing building, which dates from
the early 15th century in its main parts. This process resulted in a carefully balanced ensemble of old and new church with its outbuildings. These attitude was considered
as positive Homeland Security in Switzerland.
Located in the Limmat valley, the village of Altstetten was originally a farming community, which has grown rapidly due to the industrialization and become a suburb of Zurich.
Altstetten was incorporated into the city of Zurich in 1934. Due to the greatly increased population a competition for the Lutheranean Church was held between eight
architectural firms. The competition program explicitly demanded two proposals. It called for a proposal without obtaining the old church, respectively a proposal of
an ensemble of new and old church. Although the results of the competition were assessed by the jury, no first prize was awarded. Werner M. Moser received a honorary mention
for his design without the historic church, thanks to the good and generous organization of the task. In the field for the design obtaining the ancient Church, the design by
Werner M. Moser was at the forefront. The jury recommended to combine the old building with a new building as an ensemble, and Werner M. Moser was awarded
the commission for further planning. This success was followed by various design stages and in-depth discussions. In October 1938, construction work could begin,
and on November 30 1941 a solemn inauguration took place.
The ensemble effect of the complex is based on the sensitive coordination of location, volume and material of the new buildings and the ancient construction.
The juxtaposition of old and new was a central concern of Werner M. Moser. The Church and the outbilding tract join in an obtuse angle. Werner M. Moser took advantag of
the hillside situation and accomodated a large proportion of the rooms, the community hall and two classrooms, in the so-called garden level. This layout made it possible
to keep the volume as low as possible in relation to the church square. The cornice of the new church relates to the heigt of the eaves of the old church. The new
church contrasts with the squat and bulky shape of the old church. In urban planning terms, the new church is subordinate. In contrast the new bell tower is designed
in relation to a long distance effect and now forms the dominant feature of the church hill.