ARCH: Public adaptive reuse

CONTENT / The church of Bethlehem was built in 1959 by German architect Joachim Matthaei and is considered as a prime examples of northern German post-war modernism architecture.

Desacred in 2005 the former church building houses a kindergarten since 2011. The award-winning transformation was planned by Stoelken and Schmidt architects. While interior fit out and open spaces of the kindergarten have been carefully designed the adjacent square has never been considered a public space of relevance in the vibrant quarter of Eimsbuettel.

The former bell tower – a significant monument built as a concrete structure cladded with bricks today only remains due to its status a heritage listed object and is surrounded by a fence inaccessible to the  public. The neglected square surrounding the tower needs an upgrade to become the public space once again it was originally intended to be.


AIMS / The design project intends to transform the forgotten tower into a public building within the quarter that is deeply interwoven with the local community and enrooted and interwoven with the public spaces surrounding its entrance.

Inside the building today only a set of stairs and a few concrete slabs remain. The church bells have been removed. An existing roof terrace, once being home to the church bells offers a panoramic view of Hamburg’s cityscape.

The local church is looking for concepts to re-use the heritage protected building with unconventional, creative, out of the box and reasonable ideas to enliven this unique example of post-war modernism. Bethlehem tower and square is envisioned to be a lively public space catering for the multiple realities present in Hamburg’s inner-city quarter of Eimsbuettel.

From a wedding retreat to co-working spaces, rehearsal rooms, housing units or even a climbing center anything seems possible. So give free reign to your architectural-urbanistic fantasies!


METHOD /The Workshop focuses on adaptive reuse of a public space and a public building by design.



12.11.21    Introduction

19.11.21    Workshop

26.11.21    Workshop / Presentation


EVALUATION / Groups of two students propose concepts for an adaptive re-use of a former church tower and the adjacent square as an important public space in Hamburgs inner city quarter of Eimsbuettel.


groundfloor plan indicating relation of open spaces 1:100

Sectional perspective drawing 1:100

Interior and exterior vizualisation

Sectional Model scale 1:50


IU International University Hamburg (GERMANY)

Heiner Stengel /


BTU Cottbus Senftenberg (GERMANY)

Liesa Marie Hugler /