Designed by German architect Gottfried Böhm, this strange concrete chapel in a suburb of Düsseldorf, Germany, is a fascinating example of eclectic concrete religious architecture. Find out more about the chapel, its context and Böhm’s architectural work.
The concrete St. Hildegardis chapel in Gareth, Dusseldorf, built 1962-70, is inspired by a medieval church. It sits on a raised base, rising in a sculptural and informal way like a hillside chapel, though it is located in the suburban town center. Its architect Gottfried Böhm (1920-2021) was known for his sculptural concrete buildings and won the Pritzker Prize in 1986.
The St. Hildegardis chapel was part of a wider urban project called “Civic Centre Gareth” designed by Bohm, which included the St. Matthaus church and a retirement home community. They are also inspired by medieval castle architecture, playing on forms such as turrets and crenellation, and built with red brick, concrete and metal. Büro Gottfried Böhm was commissioned to design a rectory as an extension of the project in 2015.
The St. Hildegardis chapel is a smaller version of Bohm’s Mariendom (Maria, Königin des Friedens) church in Neviges (1965-68), which has an abstract, tented shape with multiple peaks made of concrete and is his most well known building. The first building he completed is the Madonna in the Rubble chapel (1949) in Cologne, now integrated into Peter Zumthor's Kolumba museum design, which replaced a medieval church that was destroyed in WWII. Böhm continued to design religious buildings until late in his career, such as the Cologne Central Mosque (2018). Photo above by Stefano Perego
The St. Hildegardis chapel is featured on our Brutalist Calendar 2023 for December. Now, our 2024 calendar is available. Since 2019, our annual, limited edition monthly wall calendar is a celebration of some of the most awe-inspiring and influential examples of Brutalist architecture around the world. The 2024 edition of our annual Brutalist Calendar is now shipping. This year's calendar features stunning photography of Brutalist architecture from Buenos Aires to Bulgaria.