Cologne's World Youth Day "Cathedral for a Day"

Architectural Firm Designs Setting for Final Mass

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COLOGNE, Germany, DEC. 7, 2003 ( The plan of the Hahn Helten architectural firm has been chosen to house the closing of the 20th World Youth Day, at the Hangelar de Sankt Agustin airport in Bonn.

The architectural plan, awarded 5,500 euros ($6,677), was presented to the public in Cologne recently, Korazym ( reports.

This was the result of a competition launched by the World Youth Day (WYD) office in August. Nine German architectural firms participated.

On Aug. 20-21, the airport in Bonn will be the setting of the two most important events of the WYD: the vigil and the final Mass.

The organizers anticipate the attendance of some 800,000 young people for this meeting with the Pope. The participants will be able to spend the night at Hangelar in the open air.

The most important feature of the prize plan is the central platform, where the altar will be erected. Extending over some 3,000 square meters, it will be situated on a small hill, created out of natural elements, specifically for the occasion.

Architect Ulrich Hahn of the Aachen-based firm described it as a «cathedral for a day.» A «cloud» hovers over the altar and the papal throne.

The Hahn Helten firm’s concept of the plan is based on persistence. So the architects hope to plant almond trees on the small earthen hill, which will be used by the public as a memento and place to rest.

Monsignor Heiner Koch, WYD secretary-general, said the plan was impressive. «It has a high symbolic content and an expressive force that is comprehensible throughout the world,» he said. «Hill, earth, light and cloud are also profound Christian religious symbols.»

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