Gereon Berz // ORARE ET LABORARE 21 The monastery as a sustainable place of progression – A rediscovery



»Tradition is not the worship of the ashes, but the transmission of the fire.«
- Jean Jaures –

Using the example of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Stephen in Augsburg, the master's thesis "orare et laborare 21" wants to examine whether, at a time when monasteries are rapidly dying out, architectural interventions can help to ensure the preservation of spiritual, monastic places, and whether they are also successful to re-establish the heterogeneous organism of the monastery as a valuable building block in public space and to connect it to our democratic society. The interventions are aimed at strengthening, preserving and continuing the monastery as a place of monastic life for the future. Particular attention is paid to the two dualistic functions of a monastery. On the one hand on the inward-looking spiritual imprint of the inhabitants and on the other hand on the outward-looking influence on society, or the service to it. In order to preserve monastic life in St. Stephen even after a possible withdrawal of the Benedictines, the "Claustrum" has to create the monastic spirituality that is currently scarce there, independent of religion. In this way, the monastic idea is inscribed into the place, architecturally - spatially transmitted and points the way towards a potential secular-monastic subsequent use. The "Forum", inspired by the former Roman forum under the abbey complex and the monastery garden that has been made accessible, wants to connect the place closely to the democratic city society and, in the monastic tradition, act as a starting point for sustainable development processes. In this way, St. Stephen could first rediscover and re-establish itself as a place of spirituality and tranquility, as well as a place of progression, exchange and (public) life, independent of denomination, and then successfully pursue its monastic history in the 21st century.


Examiner: Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Axel Sowa
Co-Examiner: Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Anke Naujokat
Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Axel Sowa

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