Thomas community, Mannheim

  • task:
  • construction of a community center of the Evangelical Thomas Community in Mannheim-Neuhermsheim
  • client:
  • building department of the Evangelical Church in Mannheim
  • procedure type:
  • 2-stage competition 2003, 1st Prize
  • size:
  • 800 sqm
  • completion:
  • 2007
  • team:
  • Niklas Storch, Alexa Eißfeldt
  • technical planner:
  • Prof. Ariel Auslender (artistic consultation) | Ebert Ingenieure (building services engineering) | club L94 (landscape planning) | LDE Belzner Holmes (lighting design) | Dr. Kreutz und Partner (structural engineer) |
  • photos:
  • Jörg Hempel, Aachen
  • awards:
  • BDA Auszeichnung guter Bauten, 2008 | Großer Hugo-Häring Preis, 2009 | Auszeichnung der AKBW für beispielhaftes Bauen in Mannheim, 2014 | Baukulturpreis der Stadt Mannheim, 2015 |
  • The evangelical Thomas Community Center rises from an urban hardscape. The U-shaped structure embraces a grassy courtyard, with the main hall on one side, the breakout rooms and youth center at the back, and a covered, screened open area forming a foyer and a new public access on the other side. The design allows pedestrians to pass the heart of the community center without leaving it unprotected to the public.
    The exterior cut edges of the façade create a sculptural, load-bearing structure made of refined, precast concrete elements. At the interface to the public space, the open design of these precast elements is an expression of the open setting of the Community within the urban landscape.
    The façade around the courtyard is designed as a glass curtain which can be opened in certain areas. The functional areas allow a wide range of spatial dispositions by linking the foyer, hall, courtyard and youth center, and by opening some areas of the glass façade and rearranging the interior room dividers.
    The simplicity of the design is carried on in the constructional concept of the building. The assembly of the construction elements allowed a cost-effective realization despite the unusual shape of the building.