The Cologne Cathedral.

Establishing an Archetype


A storied Gothic cathedral constructed over eight centuries. Considered the most complete and impressive High Gothic cathedral ever constructed. The Cologne Cathedral serves as a touchstone and archetype for analyzing other sacred spaces

During the Medieval period, church architecture defined beauty in western Europe. No other building types sought to generate atmosphere, or to inspire and uplift at the scale of cathedrals. The Gothic tradition established a new archetype of sacred space. The development of flying buttresses and the resultant transparency found in the cathedral walls enabled the intentional use of light to a degree which had been impossible before. The Cologne Cathedral represents the pinnacle of Gothic architecture. Organized architectural education in the West has taught us that the medieval cathedral is not only a type of sacred space, but a rubric for it. The cathedral has had direct and indirect influences on the design of atmosphere. It is a touchstone for sacred space in the Western architectural tradition. The cathedral has undergone three periods of construction, from 1248 to 1473, from 1842 to 1880, and from 1945 until the present. The initiation and duration of each phase and break has reflected the attitude of the city. The Cologne Cathedral serves not only as an iconic space in the history of sacred architecture but also as an identifying element of place in the landscape of Cologne and the Rhineland.



architecture, sacred, spiritual, masterplan, materiality, history


Cologne, Germany


Roman Catholic


Pilgrimage Site, Archdiocesan Cathedral


1880, ongoing maintenance

Macro and Micro Context

The site is located in the larger metropolitan area containing Auburn, Opelika, and Columbus. Additionally, it is oriented along a major historic and cultural axis along the riverfront. The subdued material palette is locally sourced.


Materials and techniques were implemented which mature over time.


The steel volumes of the studios frame one end of the park, while city mills holds the other edge.


Mystery is prioritized over views to the interior. The skin is pulled back or punctured in a handful of moments to permit daylight.


Mediating Knuckle

The studios project into the river, providing a node around which visitors can gather. The overhang provides protection and the launch engages the river.


A gallery for both creation and art produced in and on the building. A display case for craft and patina.

Music Studio

Pairing acoustic and visual reflection. The pool serves as a privacy barrier between performers and walkers.

Perpendicular and Parallel

The Columbus Riverwalk passes between the studio volumes, above the Chattahoochee River access and below the studio axes. 


Overlapping Axes

The project can be experienced in multiple ways, and each avenue of access permits views of the others.