Exhibition: 'Vorstadtikone'

  Copyright: © Chair of Architectural History  

Vorstadtikone – St. Hubertus by Gottfried Böhm. Visiting the "Backenzahn"

At the foot of Aachen's Kronenberg there is the Church of St. Hubertus, completed in 1964 - an architectural gem designed by Gottfried Böhm. Once a lively quarter church, the building, sometimes referred to as the " Backenzahn" in the local vernacular, is now rarely used. The Chair of Architectural History has dedicated two whole semesters to this "suburban icon" in the form of a combinatorial design as well as a student research and exhibition project.

In the first part of the project, the participating students had to develop an – initially fictitious – alternative use for the church building and the insula. The spatial and functional potential of the formerly slate-covered " concrete rock" was to be explored and convincing visions were to be drawn up that would turn this place, which was actually intended to be the centre of the district, into a lively centre of attraction again. The result were five concepts for reuse and design worthy of discussion, all of which respect the listed church building but structurally complement it in totally different ways.

Under the title " Vorstadtikone", the students are working on an exhibition about the church of St. Hubertus in and around the church of St. Hubertus in the second – currently ongoing – part of the project. The declared aim of the exhibition is to create an awareness, even an appreciation, for this rather unknown and perhaps partly misunderstood building with regard to its extraordinary architectural language.

To this end, we are opening the doors and gates of the church together with the parish: all interested parties – whether parishioners, citizens, architects, etc. – are cordially invited to explore its expressive exterior and atmospheric interior. Individual stations will provide information about the (in part certainly surprising) special characteristics of the building and also illustrate whether and to what extent changes have been made at the relevant points compared to Gottfried Böhm's original planning. Ultimately, it is the church building itself that becomes an exhibition object in the scale of 1:1.

Two special exhibition areas complement the church stations. Under the organ gallery, the "Böhm Pergola" will introduce visitors to the life and work of the architect and provide an architectural-historical classification of St. Hubertus in the series of his sacral oeuvre. In the baptistery, which can always be read as a place of renewal, the students' visions for the future of the church and the insula mentioned at the beginning will be presented. With the latter part of the exhibition, we would like to encourage all those interested and involved to actively think about the future of this "Vorstadtikone", which is so valuable in many aspects, and – wherever possible – to actively participate in its development.

(Text: Verena Hake und Caroline Helmenstein)


// Where & When?

On the following Saturdays, the exhibition (Händelstr. 6, 52074 Aachen) will be open from 3 to 5 p.m. each day:
July 9 / July 23 / August 6 / August 20 / September 3.

Last opening: Sunday, September 11, 2022, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Day of the Open Monument)

The opening of the exhibition took place on Saturday, June 25, 2022.


RWTH Aachen, Chair of Architectural History

Student project team

Fiona Cordes, Lara Draschoff, Hana ElKabbany, Wenyi Kang, Sijia Li, Franziska Müller, Annika Reichstein, Britta Schebesta, Aliena Werkes

Scientific and didactic support

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Anke Naujokat
Dipl.-Ing. Architect Verena Hake
Dr.-Ing. Caroline Helmenstein

Instagram: @vorstadtikone.ausstellung