The Cast of Things
There is nothing remarkable about the entrance to the Basilica of Saint Margaret at Osterhofen Abbey. On a two-lane street with no sidewalk, up a short flight of stairs, and through a gate in the perimeter wall, across the lawn of a small cemetery, behind an oak door, there is the grossest imaginable dilation of the building envelope. On the surface of the shallow handkerchief vault is painted: a giant hole in the ceiling, nearly one-third of the entire nave, above which—stacked along the rim of a gold frame—is the busy courtyard of some municipal building. A bit further into the nave, above the crossing, are rays of light bearing an angel who is either flying up into or falling down out of a second, slightly smaller hole in the ceiling through which another scene is visible from below: a gathering underneath a monumental dome. Stacked above the interior of Osterhofen are entire worlds of interiors. The model is a slice down the middle of the Osterhofen nave, depicting the zone that separates baroque heaven and earth—or, in this case, rococo heaven and earth.
Andrew Holder is an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and co-principal of The LADG.
Claus Benjamin Freyinger is co-principal and founding member of The LADG.