AD Classics: Heilig Geist Kirche / Alvar Aalto

  • 19 Jun 2013
  • by
  • AD Architecture Classics Religious Architecture
Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

Aalvar Aalto is arguably one of the most important architects of the 20th century. Known for his all-around care for the design of buildings, Aalto often not only designed the exterior but individual interior features as well. He designed a total of six buildings in Germany, one of them being Heilig Geist Kirche, an Evangelistic Luthern church in Wolfsburg, Germany.  He was asked to design this church on November 5, 1958; it was completed four years later in 1962.

Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

Heilig Geist Kirche is a modern religious building consisting of a church, community center, daycare, and pastorate. The church component is located in the center of the structure. The exterior facade is similar to another of Aalto’s, Stephanus Kirche, due to its white-colored brick masonry. A large window fills the northwest side of Heilig Geist Kirche, and a few smaller, irregularly-indented windows are on other facades.

Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

The roof is covered in copper plates that incline towards the side altar, where they curve down towards the ground. This feature gives Heilig Geist Kirche a very distinguished and unique look. A 32-meter tall white freestanding bell tower with superimposed free-hanging bells rests on the northwest side of the church, opposite the curve.

Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

The interior roof is covered in wooden panels, contrasting the white walls. It is organically shaped and has white ribs running through it. The walls have both curves and straight edges. Approximately 300 seats are organized in Heilig Geist Kirche but an additional 100 can be added if necessary. 

Aalto designed a number of churches, and this is one of two he made for Wolfsburg. Aalto’s outstanding international modernist style has truly left its mark in Germany.

Cite: Wronski, Lisa. "AD Classics: Heilig Geist Kirche / Alvar Aalto" 19 Jun 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • T. Taylor

    The map is completely wrong.