A church can be much more than just a gathering place. When it’s no longer usable in its intended purpose, it can be reconfigured and converted into all sorts of structures. For example, this old church has become a modern bookstore. The church is located in Maastricht, Holland and it recently became a new addition to the popular Dutch bookstore chain Selexyz.
It seems like an unusual place for a bookstore but, when you think about, it has the perfect design and history for this purpose. The project known as Selexyz Dominicanen Maastricht, was developed by architecture firm Merkx + Girod website. The team managed to use the design of the church to create a unique and intriguing bookstore. The structure, both internal and external, has been preserved. The architects managed to work around it and to create the new design starting from there.
The church was originally built in 1294. It has a lot of history and this makes it a perfect location for a bookstore. The cathedral’s large open spaces allowed the architects to create a series of three-storey bookshelves. Since the church’s floor space is not very generous, the architects decided to think vertically.
They also decided to preserve the religious motifs and to incorporate them into the new design. Since they couldn’t just erase the building’s past, they had to include its history into the new design. The bookstore currently features a café and a long table shaped like a cross in the eating area. The bookstore is now at the limit between old and new, ancient and modern.