New Lutheran Church of St. Paul
Among the submitted 4 projects for the competition, the project of the architect Hermann-Karl Shevrembrandt (from Stuttgart, Württemberg) was named the best, the architect was charged with implementing the work.
Type of building:
Religious cult structure (Lutheran Church)
Neoromanticism, brick (Lutheran Church)
G. K. Shevrembrandt , H. Y. Skveder (Lutheran Church)
A. E. Sheyns, A. I. Bernardazzi (Parsonage)
Date of construction:
1824-1828 (Lutheran Church, old building, not preserved)
1895-1897 (Lutheran Church, the new building)
2000-2002 (Parsonage, reconstruction for hospitable home)
2005-2010 (Lutheran Church, restoration and reconstruction with restructuring of the altar)
Architectural monument of national importance (Lutheran Church)
Historical monument (Parsonage)
Reconstruction of the Lutheran church was the first construction project of Shevrembrandt in Odessa. A great service for the success of the construction work belongs by right to his assistant — the architect and engineer Christiane J. Skveder (later collaborated with E. Y. Mesner), who carried out the basic control of the works. Reconstruction carried out in the years 1895-1897, was actually a building of the new church.
The new Lutheran Church building on old postcards
Over the next two years, the development of Lutheran block ended with erection of the new the Parsonage at the corner of Topolsky lane and Novoselskogo Street (combined with the almshouse), a project was performed by other prominent Odessa architects of the time — A. E. Sheyns and A. I. Bernardazzi.
In 1895 the old temple was demolished to make room for the new one. A grandiose (by the standards of Odessa) building, with a capacity of 1,200 people, was built in just two years. In 1897, the last stone was laid. The total cost of construction amounted to 110,000 rubles. Occupying an area of 50 meters, a width of 22 meters and having a steeple 48 meters high, the building of a new Lutheran church was the third in size in the Russian Empire (after St. Petersburg and Moscow). The peculiarity of the temple was the fact that the main entrance was directed to the north-east (traditionally a church entrance orientates in the west, and an altar — in the east).
New Lutheran Church in pre-revolutionary photographs
November 1, 1897, the solemn consecration of the new St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, was carried out by the pastor Gustav-Adolf Lokkenbergom, serving in Odessa parish from 1892 to 1907. For «signal achievements in the building of the outstanding landmark» architect G.K. Shevrembrandt in 1903, when celebrated the 100th anniversary of the parish, was awarded with the Russian Order of St. Stanislaus of third degree by the Russian Emperor. In the same year, the famous architect, having built several exquisite and colorful buildings in Odessa, having given up 13 years of life to the city, left the Russian Empire forever. Settling in Berlin from 1905 to 1908, Shevrembrandt issued a professional magazine «Architectur-Konkurenzen», devoted to the European architectural competitions. Further life of the architect is under a veil of secrecy, and with the beginning of the First World War his traces disappeared completely.
By projecting Odessa Lutheran Church, Shevrembrandt used elements cult German architecture of Romanesque period. In the exterior of the building there are easily noticeable features of famous cathedrals in Mainz, Speyer and Worms, and the Maria Laach abbey church. Double-deck counterforts unload Romanesque heaviness of the building and give a silhouette upward aspiration, which is undoubtedly more traditionally for Gothic.
An impressive five-tiered steeple is the compositional dominant of the temple, at the time of construction — the highest in the city. In addition, the church is located on the highest point of the plateau of Odessa, causing the steeple visibility from a long distance — it was visible even from ships at sea and was included in many sailing directions as a reference point.
Due to the same steeple, the silhouette of the Lutheran Church main facade effectively closes the perspective of Dvoryanskaya Street.
The walls of the building are made of selected blocks of shell limestone of Kasperovskaya stone quarry, they were not planned to be covered with plaster and paint. According to the architect, the few carved parts from a single stone had to contrast subtly with the larger-scale compositional elements composed from artistically considered masonry (which is characteristic of so-called «Brick style» of the time). Lack of plaster and stucco mouldings reduced the cost of construction. Here and there the masonry alternate with zones of red brick, that often occurs in the Romanesque and Byzantine architecture.
Main facade elements
Demolished during the last reconstruction apse was on the roof ridge slightly lower height compared to the bulk of the building and was flanked at their junction with two square towers (fortunately preserved).
Altar part towers
Portals to the axis of the transept are made in the form of massive verandas, taken out of the range of the facade plane and decorated with medallions.
Side facades elements
Portal of the main entrance (in Novoselsky Street) is covered with pilaster sides in the form of slender semi columns with magnificent carved capitals. Above the portal there is a rose window, initially served as a source of lighting for utility services rooms directly under the steeple.
Portal of the main entrance
Main entrance door
Roof planes of the main bulk are enlivened with the lucarnes.
Such a solution was often encountered in the late Gothic style in different European countries, and later in the Northern Renaissance. Among the examples worth mentioning one of the architectural symbols of Vienna — St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
The time and circumstances, which will be discussed later, spare neither laps nor the roof of the building. Built of brick of two colors the steeple spire retained geometric patterns, once being in harmony with the tile patterns on the roof.
Early Christian basilica, with its principles of organization of the longitudinal space (the temple embodies the ship) was laid in the plan of the building.
The Lutheran Church scheme
The internal bulk was divided into three naves, and the main motif of the interior was semicircular arches. In contrast to the stylistic originals here, however, there was no depressing feeling of heaviness, owing largely to the role played by the abundance of Gothic interior parts with their soaring proportions. In particular, the apse finishing, the altar and the choir were gothic. Most of the items were made of dark tones wood in a variety of color combinations.
Original( not preserved) Lutheran Church interiors
Generous donations made it possible to cast three bells and make stained glasses. The new organ was assembled and delivered by the well-known «E. F. Walcker» from Ludwigsburg in Württemberg.
References and Archives
- «The architects of Odessa». B. Pilyavsky
- «The Architecture of Odessa. Style and time». B. Pilyavsky
- «The buildings, structures, monuments of Odessa and architects». B. Pilyavsky
- Odessa Lutheran Church — Revival from the ruins
- Three Lives of St. Paul’s Church in Odessa
- An article on building in a blog Antique
- Website Odessastory. User gallery Brassl