St. Paulus Catholic Church

Light in the Darkness: A church in the Black Forest provides a tranquil retreat for parishioners.

The remote, rural town of Frommern, in Germany’s Black Forest, is hardly the place one expects to encounter finely crafted works of architecture. Yet the recently completed St. Paulus Catholic Church there brings design excellence to this enclave while offering its congregation a retreat from the trials of everyday life. “The community needs a spiritual Heimat,” says Father Ewald Ginter, the parish priest, “a place to take time out from an increasingly hectic world.”

The new church occupies the site of a former house of worship. Designed by architect Paul Nagler and completed in 1965, it was destroyed by arson in 2011. The original building stood at the center of a wide block and was poorly integrated into its fragmentary context: social housing and a commercial strip to the east, senior housing to the west, and single-family homes to the south. Only a narrow, through-block street led to the small entry plaza lodged between the church and its 115-foot-tall bell tower, while gardens that adjoined the parish’s community center and rectory inhibited pedestrian access from the eastern edge of the block that had a high volume of foot traffic. >>moreFrommern

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