The Order of Malta dates back to a hospital for pilgrims in Jerusalem. Around 1080, Blessed Fra’ Gerard took over the management, formed the community and opened the hospital to all who were in need of help. For him, acts of charity were an expression of his faith. You will see a small statue of the Order’s founder on the fountain in the inner courtyard of the Order of Malta Chapter in Ehreshoven near Cologne. But not only that. The appreciation for fellow human beings and nature as God’s work is also evident in other ways. One of these is the use of earthen clay as a building material.
With the flow of time
In the Order of Malta Chapter complex with its striking red plaster façade, you can hold meetings and celebrations, but also reflect and relax – or all of the above. The heart of the conference venue and hotel is the old manor house of Ehreshoven Castle. The baroque moated castle is only a stone’s throw away.
Two of the estate’s historic buildings were supplemented with a new U-shaped building. A former outbuilding was integrated into the new architecture. The architecture of the new building makes reference to the two existing buildings with its storey height and gabled roof. The ground floor consists of natural stone masonry, the upper floor and the attic are half-timbered.
Clay earth was used as a building material in the reconstruction. As a traditional building material, clay earth is ideal for the faithful renovation of historical buildings. In half-timbered construction, the wooden framework can be filled with clay bricks or earth-moist clay. But even solid walls can be given a fitting finish using clay plaster.
Earth as a building material not only suits the Order of Malta as a historical building material but also because of its naturalness and its advantages for healthy construction. Although the focus of the Christian community is primarily on its fellow human beings, nature is also held in high esteem – the two are inextricably linked.
The Chapter’s location on the banks of the Agger River, surrounded by the rolling hills and green forests of the Bergisches Land region, allows you to leave the stress and the hectic pace of life behind. Inside, clay earth lends the rooms a pleasant air quality by regulating the humidity.
A moment of reflection – or two
In addition to the natural surroundings and the rooms decorated in sunny earth tones, the chapel offers you a place of peace and spirituality. It was decorated by the Chilean artist Maria J. Fernandez. Here, as in the whole complex, concentration, and contemplation, creativity and community meet.Read more »
Valuable for renovation and new construction – clay building materials from Claytec
In the past, clay earth was processed directly from the ground as a regional building material. Theoretically, this is still possible today. However, building materials today have to meet strict standards and requirements. This also applies to clay earth.
Clay plasters and clay blocks from Claytec meet these requirements while remaining natural and are therefore ideal for the faithful renovation of historical buildings. Natural additives such as straw and coloured clays can be used to control the properties and appearance of the finished building material. New buildings also benefit from this, for example, as a decorative and healthy interior plaster.
Claytec also offers clay earth building materials for modern construction methods such as drywall construction. The combination with in-wall heating has also proven successful in modern building with earthen clay. The thermal storage property of earthen clay results in pleasant radiant heat.