Three religious communities in Berlin have come together to initiate a fundraising campaign to generate the €43.5m needed to develop the design and construction of House of One. The ‘simple’ scheme has attracted media attention around the world due to its unorthodox brief: a single house of worship blending a Christian church, Jewish synagogue and Islamic mosque.
A statement from owners House of Prayer and Learning Petriplaz Berlin e. V. reads: “As the world becomes more globalised, followers of different religions are increasingly coming into contact with one another. While many of these encounters are peaceful, others can lead to fierce opposition or even violence. With The House of One, three faiths are choosing to establish a new kind of space - one where innovative architecture creates a unique atmosphere in which Jews, Christians and Muslims can co-exist peacefully and without prejudice.”
An international design competition was held for the project in 2012 (published by WAN’s Business Information Service) with Berlin-based studio Kuehn Malvezzi taking the winning spot. The design includes individual holy rooms for each of the three religions to enable worshippers to practice in separate spaces, and a central communal volume to encourage users to come together socially and share their knowledge and experiences.
For Imam Kadir Sanci, it was imperative that the winning design be reflective of the House of One mission. He explains: “The equal relationship between the religions that defines the work within the association and that was applied in all the decision-making processes throughout the architectural competition highlights one of the hallmarks of The House of One: an atmosphere of openness that gives us, Muslims in this city and in this country, a publicly tangible place to call home and a place where we are taken seriously - in the way we interpret and observe our religion, and in the way it can be part of a fruitful exchange with the city and other religions.”
House of One will be located on Petriplaz, widely recognised as the historic birthplace of Berlin. Should the fundraising be success, construction could commence as early as 2015 with the building completed within a two-year period.