A group of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in Berlin are trying to crowdsource funds for the construction of a church that would house all three religions under one roof. Berlin-based Kuehn Malvezzi has won the competition organized back in 2012 but the project has since received both praise and criticism. House of One is aiming to become the first building in the world to function as a church, a synagogue, and a mosque simultaneously, but it could be beaten to the punch by Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha, Nebraska, whose multifaith church is expected to break ground in 2015.
The building will occupy a prominent location at the heart of the German capital. The small Petriplatz on the Museum Island in Mitte is surrounded by cultural institutions and its layout traces the outline of the 13th-century Petrikirche, whose archaeological remains will be preserved in the basement floor of the new building.
The organizers of the initiative are counting on the support of the people and small donors —anyone can purchase a brick for €10. So far, 438 individual backers have donated €20.170, just a fraction of the total sum of €43.5 million which should be collected by 2016. The organizers say that they will keep the initiative alive regardless of the campaign’s outcome. If they reach a minimum of €10 million, the funds will be invested in building a basic version of the building; otherwise the money will be invested in projects which support religious tolerance.
The building’s monolithic exterior, criticized by some for its neutrality, contrasts the interior space comprised of several differently-shaped rooms. Three sacral rooms, designated for the three religions and positioned around the dome hall, will be equal in area and separately accessible. Adjacent are several common areas for ecclesiastics and performing rituals, and the Library of the Religions. Numerous perforations within the brickwork control the amount of natural light entering the interior, creating different atmospheres depending on the function of the space.