St. Moritz Church, one of the oldest parishes in Augsburg, Germany, dates back to 1019. Over time, it has experienced its share of demolition and rebuilding efforts shaped by fire, changes in religious practices, and war. Heavily bombed during World War II, only its outer walls were left standing. At the end of the war, German architect Dominikus Böhm oversaw its rebuilding.

In the church’s latest transformation, the team of London-based designer John Pawson and London-based lighting design firm Mindseye Lighting sought to bring light and clarity to the structure’s interiors while being mindful of the building’s history and the work of the previous architects.

In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic of their teammate Pawson, Mindseye developed a scheme that uses illumination to help define the architectural volumes and bring out the subtle textures found in the material palette of wood, stone, and plaster. A visitor notices the quality of light, not the fixtures themselves. Furthermore, Mindseye employed a dynamic white-light scheme that enables most of the luminaires in the church to change from warm (2700K) to neutral (4000K) white light. It also serves as the design mechanism by which natural light and electric light are coordinated; warm-white color temperatures are prevalent during evening Mass and neutral-white is used during the day.

The main nave spans 29.5 feet wide by 108 feet long. Clerestory windows let in natural light, while a series of side arches and cove-lit domes lead the visitor’s eye to the altar and the far wall beyond it, which features a Baroque figure of Christ. The sculpture is backlit, as well as highlighted from the front by two 150W metal halide spotlights. The altar is illuminated by 10 projector luminaires placed behind the dome lip.

The use of white light provides an elegant, subtle illumination throughout the church, one that creates an experiential understanding of light as it corresponds to the different services and ceremonies that take place both each day and seasonly.

Jury Comments
Stunning.
Shows absolute clarity of design intent.
Perfect.


A view of the main nave.
Marcus Schröther A view of the main nave.
The Baroque figure of Christ in the main nave is backlit along with two additional 150W metal halide spotlights aimed from the front.
Marcus Schröther The Baroque figure of Christ in the main nave is backlit along with two additional 150W metal halide spotlights aimed from the front.

The Altar area is illuminated by 10 framing projectors concealed from view.
Marcus Schröther The Altar area is illuminated by 10 framing projectors concealed from view.

In the side naves, the statue of each Apostle is framed by a backlit wall niche.
Marcus Schröther In the side naves, the statue of each Apostle is framed by a backlit wall niche.


The Sacramental Chapel illumination features two horizontal light slots, which lead to a covelit arch at the front of the chapel and a crucified figure of Jesus.
Marcus Schröther The Sacramental Chapel illumination features two horizontal light slots, which lead to a covelit arch at the front of the chapel and a crucified figure of Jesus.

The dynamic white light illumination strategy allows luminaires to change from warm white (2700K) (seen here) to neutral white (4000K).
Marcus Schröther The dynamic white light illumination strategy allows luminaires to change from warm white (2700K) (seen here) to neutral white (4000K).

Inground 6W LED uplights graze the columns between the side naves (shown here) and the main nave to the right.
Marcus Schröther Inground 6W LED uplights graze the columns between the side naves (shown here) and the main nave to the right.

The Baptism Chapel is illuminated by a single, domed cove light.
Marcus Schröther The Baptism Chapel is illuminated by a single, domed cove light.

A view of the main nave looking back toward the entrance.
Marcus Schröther A view of the main nave looking back toward the entrance.

Details
Project  St. Moritz Church, Augsburg, Germany
Entrant  Mindseye Lighting Ltd.
Owner/Client  Church of St. Moritz, Augsburg, Germany
Architect  John Pawson Ltd., London
Lighting Designer  Mindseye Lighting Ltd., London
Team Members  Admir Jukanovic, Douglas James, Eszter Hanzseros, Raquel Meseguer
Photographer  Marcus Schrother
Project Size  15,941 square feet
Project Cost  £225,000 ($357,883)
Lighting Costs  £212,000 ($337,206)
Watts per Square Foot  0.66
Code Compliance  Not Applicable (No energy code requirements in the project locale.)
Manufacturers  ETC, iGuzzini, LTS, Martini, Meyer, Norka, Philips Color Kinetics, Precision Lighting, RUCO, Weckmer, Vexica

To see all of the other winners of the 2014 AL Light & Architecture Design Awards, click here.