St. Matthäus München, Germany

Gustav Gsaenger
Date Built
1953 - 1955
Nußbaumstraße 1, 80336 München

This church building stands just outside the old city walls of Munich.  It is a relatively modern replacement for an earlier St Matthews Church built in 1833, the first Protestant church to be built in Catholic Munich.  That church survived until 1938 when it was demolished to make way for a road widening program, or, depending on which source you consult, to facilitate the construction of the U-Bahn.  Sources seem to suggest that it might have been a victim of Hitler's indifference.  In his book "The Word in Stone:  The Role of Architecture in the National Socialist Ideology", Robert R Taylor explains that, "... Although Hitler had a special interest in theatres, he had none in churches.  Hostile to the Christian Church, he rarely considered church buildings as “community” architecture, and to a great extent neither did his followers.  ....  Indeed, in most Nazi planning, churches were to play a small roll. ... Few churches were deliberately destroyed by the new government (versus synagogues), but there were plans for tearing down certain ones.  The Protestant St Matthew Church was demolished when work on Munich’s subway began, and in replanning the city many others were to be destroyed and not replaced...."

The original church wasn't replaced until after the war when Gsaenger's building was erected in Sendlinger Tor Platz.  Apparently, its curvacious design led to it being known as "God's bathtub" or "Luther's roller coaster".


Inside six tall columns support the roof

This impressive marble mosaic was created by the architect's daughter, Angela Gsaenger.