Ceramic art for eternity
The architects bayer I uhrig from Kaiserslautern relied on materials that time can’t harm so quickly for an unusual project: Ceramics from the Westerwald. In the meantime, ceramic art designed for eternity adorns the urn niches of the columbarium of the Maria Schutz Parish in Kaiserslautern. The architecture designed for it is an expression of a new burial culture in which living and dying belong together.
Whereas in earlier times the deceased of a parish usually found their final resting place in cemeteries, the parish of Maria Schutz in Kaiserslautern is taking a different approach. It was decided to integrate the urn walls into the interior of the church in order to bring the deceased back into the life of the church and to take into account new forms of funeral culture.
The overarching design idea of the ornamentation: the circle
As a symbol of eternity, the circle represents unity, the absolute, the perfect and thus the divine in itself. Thus it is also found in sublime, sculptural form on the ceramic panels that close off each urn niche. Arranged in a staggered manner, the ornamental reliefs look like a woven structure that provides support and is therefore durable. The glaze also meets special requirements: It should be translucent white and is particularly fascinating because of its craquelé effect. Colour, shape and light effects thus lend the whole a special transparency and depth.
The circle symbol: interpreted in durable ceramics and filigree steel
Even during the development phase, the architects took special care: The model was made by hand and already shows the later plasticity. To ensure sustainable production, only raw materials obtained directly on site were used.
As with the manufactured ceramics, the architects at bayer uhrig also opted for a material that would last “forever” for the metalwork by Kunstschmiede Wilperath. The urn walls, for example, are made of steel and artfully dissolve towards the top into a delicate structure decorated with the ornament. The pointed arch becomes visible through this structure – an effect that is further emphasised by the integrated illumination.
The columbarium was handed over to its new purpose after its ecclesiastical consecration in December 2021 and has since met with great approval as a cross-denominational urn burial site.