St Salvator's Church in Breslau
Numerous conceptual designs for Evangelical St Salvator's Church [Salvatorkirche] reveal a whole array of ideas ranging from a little and modest building, which was intended to supplant its predecessor (destroyed in a fire), to a standalone monumental church crowned with a soaring dome. The Protestant congregation changed the location and design several times in their attempts at matching the ambitious plans of the Catholic community and the Jewish congregation, each of whom envisaged their respective monumental church and synagogue.
In 1854, a wattle-and-daub church in today's plac Czysty 5 burnt in a fire. Created by Julius von Roux, first designs for the reconstruction of the church in the same location were never executed. In 1867, a decision was made to relocate the church to Kürassier-Reitplatz [today's plac Muzealny] 6 and invest it with a more opulent form, which would certainly compete with the bulk of the New Synagogue, slowly rising only 200 metres away.
From 1867 to 1868, C.J.Ch. Zimmermann offered five designs for this location. None of them was eventually executed, and no sketches survived. The only extant evidence of the architect's work is that of the City Council's reports, which reflect the evolution of the church's conceptual design.
The first variant was the most opulent in form and similar in bulk and size to the New Synagogue. It provided for a church on a central plan with a dome raised on a drum, which was intended to outsize that of the synagogue. Subsequent designs by Zimmermann differed in style and were much more modest due to efforts at reducing construction costs, which were to be fully covered from the city's purse.
The second concept provided for a neo-Gothic three-nave church with a tower to the west
The third variant provided for an octagonal building with six apses and a tower.
The fourth concept provided for a design on a Latin-cross plan with a massive façade topped with two towers.
The fifth and last concept was very much akin to the third, that is, octagonal, but without a tower. Each and every design for the Kürassier-Reitplatz location was rejected by the City Council, and the fact that members of the Jewish community held sway in the Council was a likely reason for this.
In 1870, the Protestant congregation returned to their previous location in plac Czysty 5. Zimmermann offered a new design: neo-Gothic in form and even more modest than previous concepts. However, the construction of the church was met with a protest from the residents, and the location of the church was shifted again to a plot of land in Bohrauerstraße [today's ulica Borowska] 7, which meant the Protestant church would be pushed further away from the circular town promenade. The construction took several years to complete, and the building was ceremonially consecrated in 1876.
That said, the Protestant investment emerged as a result of multiple compromises. When compared with the New Synagogue 1 or St Michael's Church 8 , the conceptual programme of the church or its place in the cityscape were far less prominent and impressive for its founding community. The church was severely damaged and demolished in 1945. The location now features the Wroclavia Shopping Centre.
In 2018, as part of a Polish-German student workshop, a hypothetical 3D model was developed for each of the five church designs provided for the Kürassier-Reitplatz location. They were made in an attempt at creating a visualisation of Zimmermann's ideas, which perished in the course of history; however, they also serve as an imaginative effort that pictures "a temple race", a competition fuelled by the aspirations of three different religious communities.
Written by Karolina Jara