Berlin’s ‘House of One’ to bring three religions together under the same roof

A new house of worship, which founders hope will promote interfaith understanding, is to be built in the heart of Berlin

A pastor, a rabbi and an imam walk into a holy space.

This may sound like the beginning of a potentially charged religious joke, but it is actually happening in Berlin, where plans for a new kind of religious space are under way. Called the House of One, the project was started by a small group of Muslims, Jews and Christians to create a new space for interfaith prayer and learning.

Following a design competition in 2012, the group picked a plan proposed by architects at Kuehn Malvezzi, a Berlin-based studio. The design features three separate rooms, all the same size, with one for each of the religions. There will also be a central common room where people of all beliefs can pray and learn.

Prayer and religious-specific ceremonies will take place in the three individual rooms, while the shared space will be used for learning and discussion, including talks, festivals, exhibitions, readings, concerts and workshops.

“Each of the singular spaces is designed according to the particularities of each faith. There will be an organ in the church and places to wash feet in the mosque,” said Wilfried Kuehn, one of the main architects involved in designing the building.

However the project is yet to be complete and needs donor support to raise the €43.5m (£35m) needed to finish construction. Those involved hope to open the House of One’s doors by 2018.

Berlin has a vibrant history of cultural exchange and political and religious diversity and since the 1960s, the city has become a major site of immigration activity. More and more people from Muslim areas, mainly Turkey, have relocated to Berlin looking for work and, in some cases, political freedom.

This article was first published by RYOT