Chapel Conversion to Bookshop

Posted by on March 17, 2012

So, it follows that with my general excitement in a good chapel-to-home conversion, I am equally happy to see pretty much any chapel conversion that maintains the original architecture (except maybe a nightclub, I have seen that done so poorly).  I also realize that some chapels are just to large to convert to a home, and I hate to see a beautiful building unused.

Enter Selexyz Dominicaner Maastricht a branch of the Selexyz bookstore in Maastricht, Holland. It is pretty incredible.

With this conversion, rather than fill up the whole center isle with bookshelves (as the client suggested), the architects at Merkx + Girod chose to situate a multilevel bookcase on the left side of the building. This way, the right side retains the complete height of the original space, and the retrofit does not compromise the grandeur of the space. They managed to fit 1,200 square meters of retail space into 750 square meters of floor space. That really is a great use of height, and now patrons can view the murals up close.

From the architect’s website:

“The bookcase is a grand gesture, a statement that matches the monumental dimensions of the church and gives the an extra dimension. Due to the passage ways, perspectives and the use of perforated steel, the flat appears to be light and transparent in spite of its size. The object neither imposes on the space nor clashes with the church’s architecture; it enhances its experience.”

I am wondering why they chose to make it black. It seems really heavy and I do think it clashes with the interior. But seriously… quibbles, it is a lovely use of space.

In the former apse there is a cafe with a pretty great cross-shaped table.

all images from the Merkx + Girod website and My Modern Met

via My Modern Met

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