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Carmody Groarke wins contest to retrofit and extend Bavarian church

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Carmody Groarke has won a competition to develop a new campus for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, close to the historic city centre of Nuremberg

The practice will work with Stuttgart and Reutlingen-based Riehle+Assoziierte on the 38,000m² project to retrofit and extend a derelict 1960s Brutalist office building.

The mixed-use scheme will house two independent theological colleges, a 100-room student hostel, a nursery and a public chapel as well as offices and congressional facilities for the synod of Bavaria.

The Nuremberg competition win is the practice’s second major European commission in recent months. In October it won a €7.5 million job to extend the Design Museum in Ghent, Belgium, seeing off fellow UK practice Assemble,  Belgium’s aNNo architecten, Bel Architecten, and Office Kersten Geers of Brussels. 

Speaking about the Nuremberg project, the practice said the existing block would be ‘transformed by replacing the dilapidated precast-concrete wall panels with new lightweight timber structures’.

The project will also ‘horizontally’ extend the structure of the 50-year-old building, increasing its useable area by 10,000m².

A Carmody Groarke spokesperson said: ‘The existing tower and podium building results from the extensive post-war reconstruction of Nuremberg and marks an abrupt urban and architectural change in character from the immediately adjacent medieval walled city. The imposing form and architecture of the existing buildings currently appear uninviting and impenetrable to building users and passers-by.

‘[Our] concept opens up the city-block by placing a new public square at the heart of the composition, linked with new pedestrian routes through the perimeter, presenting the church to the surrounding city as an outward-facing and welcoming institution.’

Practice director Kevin Carmody said: ‘We were inspired by the Bavarian Evangelical Church’s vision to retain, extend and creatively repurpose their existing building, reducing the environmental impact of the development whilst creating a dynamic, new institution within the city of Nuremberg.

‘Our project seeks to improve the connection between the church and the city. While retaining as much of the existing building as we can, we are renovating those parts of the structure which are no longer fit for purpose and are adding new structures to improve how the institution can work organisationally and environmentally.’

Although a future timescale is not yet known, the London-based practice said it was now ‘looking forward to developing the next stages of the project with the client, stakeholders and city’.

Last month Carmody Groarke’s Windermere Jetty Museum was named design of the year at the 2019 AJ Architecture Awards.

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