The parish office of the Catholic community of St Josef in Calw will replace the existing buildings and, together with the church, will form a stately new ensemble along Bahnhofstrasse. The rectory, along with the parish office and deanery, is complemented by a communal hall, a youth room, and rooms for the Croatian and Italian communities. This planning will position the rooms in relation to each other according to use and the landscape topography.
The bright, quiet building blends gently into the urban environment as a dignified, discreet counterpart to the church. The fine structure of the building is full of subtle references to the surrounding area and captures the contemporary architectural features of the region. In the wood of the windows, the interior of the building becomes visible and evokes the shutters typical of the Black Forest. The overall result is a high quality and texturally contemplative building, which alludes to the environment through its form and choice of materials while also conveying an independent and formal presence on site in terms of proportion and materiality.
URBAN DEVELOPMENT The volume of the building is based on the immediate surroundings. The buildings along Bahnhofstrasse are aligned in a regular sequence, each forming a base that markedly underscores the topography of the sloping street. This creates a level base for the new ensemble, which forms a barrier-free church square between the parish office and the church, extending on the brook side into a long, open staircase adapted to the terrain. The stairs are extended by a ramp from the square that allows barrier-free access to the church. The community hall is situated along the road, creating a quiet place for a peaceful moment in natural surroundings. Seating is provided on the brook side along the edge of the square – an ideal place to spend some time on the bank and on the square.
CONSTRUCTION The building is designed as a solid wood construction with a plaster facade on soft wood fibre insulation. The choice of materials is therefore ecologically sustainable. In addition to being renewable, they also store carbon, and this represents a minor contribution in addressing climatic challenges. Wood is a local, traditional building material and is suitable for a parish office in the Black Forest. The material properties augment the contemplative, sensual look of the building’s interior. The wood also creates a warm, calming atmosphere and enhances the quality of the rooms.