Frauenkirche (“Church of Our Lady”), Dresden

Replicating the portal, construction and production

Completion 2005

Photos

The Swedish author Lars Gustafsson once reported that the wedding rings of victims of the Dresden air raids in February 1945 alone would have been enough to fill six bucketfuls. It was the night in which the former, original Dresden perished – a Dresden which was once known for good reason as the Florence on the banks of the river Elbe. We mention this because the original Dresden also stood for a culture that embodied much that was good and just in German life. All those who loved this unique city knew that resurrecting Dresden would be impossible without rebuilding the Frauenkirche. This is because the identity of the city is irrevocably tied to the building and because the power of this church brings the citizens of Dresden together in a mysterious, almost reverent way.
We were therefore aware from the very start that we had to find a solution typical of Dresden if we were to meet the challenge of building the main entrance D to this church. We undertook the role of sponsor and our apprentices took over full responsibility from the outset of the project. This process commenced in 2002 with their trip to Thüngen im Spessart to examine the oak wood and select exactly the “right” wood for the entrance.The next stage involved various tests which had to be carried out on the wood to find the “right” wood glue for this difficult position (half exposed to the interior, half to the exterior).This was followed by the decision to create the ornamental carving work of the door to be produced by the sculptor Werner Plath from Oschatz by pre-milling the door using computer-aided technology. This project gave several year groups of young craftsmen direct access to the history and culture of their city. And incidentally, they made very good use of this opportunity.The entrance was officially opened on 4 January 2005 and has since been providing the grand service one would expect from an oak door produced according to such old plans.

Text: Rainer Baginski
Photo: Lothar Sprenger