Thuringia, 2000 churches

Thuringia, 2000 churches

New perspectives through transformation: Creative ideas and new uses for sacred buildings

While churches invariably stand at the heart of their locality, their central role in society has shifted over time. In Thuringia, 99% of the nearly 2000 protestant churches are historic listed buildings. Architecturally and culturally, they serve as defining landmarks and bearers of identity but the sheer number of buildings in need of upkeep presents a challenge.

Aside from the expense of their maintenance, many are no longer regularly in use. As the number of churchgoers decreases, church congregations find it increasingly difficult to look after their treasured place of worship. The long-term consequence is a loss of key meeting places in the community.

Together with the Evangelical Church in Central Germany, the IBA Thüringen is seeking model ideas for empty churches that not only benefit the respective congregations but also offer contemporary perspectives for their use within the community. An open call for new, unconventional ideas in 2017 brought forth over 500 ideas that were presented in an exhibition in the Kaufmannskirche in Erfurt, seen by more than 20,000 people. 

From 19 to 22 September 2019, over 350 guests discussed future uses for churches as part of the national German Protestant Church Construction Conference in Erfurt. Eight projects from the ‘Querdenker’ (think lateral!) call for ideas in 2017 demonstrated how churches can not only reopen but be revitalised as public spaces. IBA project leader Ulrike Rothe accompanied excursions to the Chapel of St Anna in Krobitz, where ‘organ’, a sculptural installation in the form of a gas-powered pyrophone, opened in 2017. It serves as an inspirational example of how a sensitive intervention has not only helped a small Romanesque chapel reopen to the public but has also revived it as a venue for interaction, music and prayer.



Momentan keine Termine

Curatorial Project Management & Planning
Board of Trustees
  • Veronique Faucheur, Oberkirchenrat Christian Fuhrmann, Florian Heilmeyer, Prof. Barbara Holzer, Jürg Montalta, Anne Schönharting, Dr. Barabra Steiner und Tom Unverzagt 
Participators in the Querdenker Salons
  • Dr. Dankward Guratzsch, Prof. Dr. Andreas Hoffmann, Dr. Stefan Krämer, Holger Reinhardt, Dr. Mathias Rein, Elke Bergt, Marcus Schmidt, Dr. Sonja Beeck, Jürgen Willinghöfer, Dr. Marta Doehler-Behzadi, Ulrike Rothe, Lisa-Marie Hottenrott und Oliver Weiland 
IBA Project Coordination

Ulrike Rothe
Project director
Phone +49 3643 90088-12