Architecture & Design Magazine

Strasbourg Cathedral Fold | axis mundi

A proposal for a new cathedral for the city of Strasbourg, France.

Axis Mundi – New York-based architecture Studio, was invited to submit a proposal for a new cathedral for the city of Strasbourg, France. The design is composed of a series of unfolded arches which rest on a submerged “Latin Cross” floor plan. A bas-relief of an abstracted Gothic cathedral will emerge on the eastern facade when the sun rises, and will gradually disappear during the course of the day.


A series of unfolded (ogival) concrete arches were designed to create majestic volumes of light for the interior spaces. The design of the front façade consists of a bas-relief of a digitized abstraction of a Gothic cathedral. As the sun rises in the east, it will cast shadows on the facade, and the bas-relief will become visible. It will gradually disappear during the course of the day. The floor plan is an abstraction of a Gothic Cathedral, and is composed of a Latin cross (or cruciform) plan, with a long nave making the body of the church, a transverse arm called the transept and, beyond it,  the choir, chancel or presbytery.


A “Latin Cross” plan is submerged, or sunken below the ground plane. The interior below grade is entirely clad in limestone slabs, and has been reduced to the barest minimum of decoration. The pulpit was inspired by the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, and is composed of a cluster of hexagonal shaped columns. A simple bronze cross rises from behind.

Project info:

Total Area: 25,000 sq. ft.
Materials: Structurally reinforced concrete, limestone, seamed structural glass, bronze, and oak.
Design Team: John Beckmann, Masaru Ogasawara and Viviane Liao
Renderings and Diagrams: Viviane Liao and Masaru Ogasawara
2011 Axis Mundi Design LLC

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