Religions constructing peace"Maison de la Paix et des Religions" - eine gebaute Friedensvision für Zentralafrika
Architecture exhibition in Berlin: A "House of Peace and Religions" is to be built in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic - a visionary project for a country torn apart by war. Students of the architecture faculties in Lomé/Togo and Weimar/Germany have devoted themselves to the complex and complicated topic. Their works will be shown for the first time publicly in a joint show in Berlin.
The exhibition is open daily from September 24 to October 5, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
A house of peace and religions is to be built in Bangui. It is a joint project of women and men, whether Catholic, Muslim or Protestant, and a symbol of hope in a country torn apart by decades of violence. Across all cultural, social and religious divides, people of the Central African Republique have come together in the inter-religious platform PCRC to turn the development in their country into a positive one.
In cooperation with the House of One Foundation, the Chair of Design and Building Construction at the Bauhaus University Weimar under the direction of architect Johannes Kuehn, the École Africaine des Metiers de l'Architecture et de l'Urbanisme (EAMAU) in Lomé, Togo, under the direction of architect Komlan Dela Gake, and the architect from Bangui responsible for the PCRC's project, Gabriel Ngouamidou from the architectural office "ArtCad-Conception", a first space program was developed in March 2019 in a joint workshop in Berlin.
At this meeting the following video was created with the architects Komlan Dela Gake (EAMAU), Johannes Kuehn (Bauhaus-University Weimar) and Gabriel Ngouamidou (ArtCad-Conception Bangui) as well as Rolandstolte (House of One) presenting the idea:
An absurd idea! This is often the first reaction to the construction project of that "Maison de la Paix et des Religions" as they call it in Bangui. In this country of all places, in the Central African Republic, the "garbage can of the world", as Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, project ambassador of the House of One, said himself during his visit to Berlin in 2019. In one of the poorest of all countries, where there is a lack of everything, of infrastructure, of hospitals and schools, where violence flares up time and again and therefore the Foreign Office warns against travel. In this country, the spiritual leaders of the country, organized by the Interreligious Platform PCRC, want to take up the idea of a common sacred building of the religions. A multi-religious building in Bangui, the country's capital, will be constructed in an independent, locally influenced design language - in cooperation with the Berlin-based House of One Foundation.
What should one think of it? Wouldn't every Franc be better invested in the construction of a hospital, for example? The question is justified. And it is good if it accompanies every step of the realization of the new sacred building; as a basic tone of a constant questioning and reminder never to lose sight of social reality.
It is not only a questioning of local, political and social constellations, whether in Bangui or in Berlin. With the basic idea of the House of Peace and Religions, but also with the construction of the House of One in Berlin, fundamental questions come into focus. These concern the role of the religions in our societies. In their fundamental nature, they lead equally into the heart of the projects in Bangui and Berlin.
In our present days, religions are perceived primarily as "conflict drivers" that fight each other ideologically or are thus instrumentalized by third parties. It is precisely the religions themselves that have been given the task of creating counter-drafts that make the peace potential of the religions visible and effective. In the international context, awareness of this potential of the religions has grown in recent years.
This peace work can occur in very different ways. Religions can become active in the handling or prevention of conflicts on a selective basis. They can also be actors in peace diplomacy, as the Central African religious leaders have shown in recent years.
The House of One in Berlin and the "House of Peace and Religions" in Bangui are taking a different, less obvious path. In both cases, the methodology of "peace in common building" is now developing from this religious peace work. Together, with each other, creating something for each other. Or as the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan once put it in words:
"There is no better way to achieve [peace] than to build something together across borders. Then there is something at stake for all of us, which we must protect and promote together".
Christmas message from Rev. Gregor Hohberg, representing the House of One board of directors:
This year Christmas is different, more fragile.
That is why we want to stand together in a special way in this unsettling year and celebrate Christmas Vespers for the first time with guests from the other religions. We filmed this vesper and will put it online on our website on December 24, 2020 at 12 o'clock at noon.
On the one hand, this reflects how precious Christmas is to Christians. We want to share what is most treasured with our guests.
Vortrag von Roland Stolte: "Das House of One in Berlin-Mitte, oder: Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Religionen für unser Leben" auf Einladung des Alumni-Clubs der Charité. Veranstaltung wird via Zoom übertragen.
The number of projects in which several religions come together and share a house is growing worldwide. For the first time, the House of One is inviting several multi-religious houses to a - corona-related virtual - conference on Tuesday.