The Meaning of the Sacred in Architecture

architect Rudolf Schwarz
projects Sacred Architecture in Germany
written by Ivica Brnić


All of our buildings represent the whole world repeating its genesis. The ground beneath them is the surface of the earth, the homeland of men; the space above is a world rich in life, and both are limited by the firmament.[1]


Rudolf Schwarz (1897, Strasbourg – 1961, Cologne) is among few architects who, after the paradigmatic shift in modernist movement, both in practice and theory, openly advocated a radical interconnection between the dimension of the sacred and architecture. As early as the beginning of modernism, when some were uncritically accepting the enthusiasm of the new while others were opposing it in a reactionary manner, Schwarz was dauntlessly trying to advocate in a thoughtful way the “postulates” of the “new temporal format of the series” in his earliest book Wegweisung der Technik (The Technical Guidance) (1928).[2]

[1] Rudolf Schwarz. Von der Bebauung der Erde. Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider, 1949; Facsimile reproduction: Salzburg: Pustet, 2006: 29.

[2] Rudolf Schwarz. Wegweisung der Technik: Mit Bildern nach Aufnahmen von Albert Renger-Patzsch. Potsdam: Müller& Kiepenheur, 1928; New Ed.: Köln: Walter König, 2008.