Religious buildings have always been a defining feature of urban centers and cityscapes. Especially in the Ruhr valley, the breathtaking pace of urbanization during the industrial era led to the construction of countless new churches. Religious diversity also spawned a diversity of architectural styles: the early twentieth century saw the emergence of distinctive synagogues, while a significant number of mosques were added later on. Running the gamut of modern architectural typology, these religious buildings are characterized by a keen desire for formal experiments and highly expressive designs.
This publication tells the story of some of these remarkable buildings and includes thematic essays that shed light on the broader context. Linking the past and present, they explore what role places of worship play in community life, what significance they hold as conspicuous urban landmarks, how this valuable cultural heritage can keep its place at the heart of urban settings, and what can be done to safeguard its future relevance.
Structural designs, drawings, models, and other documents from the archives of Baukunstarchiv NRW serve to introduce the buildings in this book, which makes this material available to the public for the first time.