House of One – Le Centquatre
Installation at Le Centquatre, Paris.
From September 24, 2016 to January 4, 2017.
In the center of Berlin, the House of One arises: an inter-religious house of prayer and learning for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, which also addresses the secular urban communities. A synagogue, a church and a mosque will be built under one roof. The structure will interrupt everyday urban life in both its form and material. The House of One is a solid brick building, which presents itself as an entity free from religious symbolism in the urban space.
The internal organization of the building, however, is detached from the external structure. Here the three Abrahamic religions claim their respective liturgical autonomy, with synagogue, church and mosque as heterogeneous structures, like houses grouped around a central square. This place, a high domed hall in the center, is both an in-between space and main hall. It forms a space which is also a place of encounter, continuing the urban space of Berlin into the building.
The three religions are united in this house and simultaneously preserve their individual characters. The simultaneity of closeness and distance as a prerequisite for a peaceful encounter with the unknown is constitutive of the House of One. The approach of Kuehn Malvezzi is based on an understanding that sees architecture and the city relationally: The ever-new exploration of closeness and distance relationships finds a spatial articulation in the design for the House of One.
A first version of the House of One on a 1:1 scale is accessible for the public to experience in the central hall of the Centquatre. The installation of Kuehn Malvezzi demarcates a floor plan of the House of One onto the Halle Aubervilliers. At the same time the information transmitted in the Centquatre constellation of spaces is reminiscent of the sequences of blocked off spaces, which we know from hopscotch, where they are scratched and drawn onto streets in various cultures across the world. The visitors of the Centquatre are invited to experience the Halle in a new way, by using the demarcated zones as play areas, and to repeatedly try out new relations.