A shop in a church by Merkx + Girod Architecten


Dutch architects Merkx + Girod have won the Lensvelt de Architect Interior Prize 2007 for their Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht - a bookstore inside a former Dominican church. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.

The prize jury said: "Merkx + Girod architects have created a contemporary bookshop in a former Dominican church, preserving the unique landmark setting. The church has been restored to its former glory and the utilities equipment has been housed in the extended cellar.

"In order to preserve the character of the church while achieving the desired commercial square footage, the architects erected a two-storey structure in black steel on one side, where the books are kept. Keeping the shop arrangement on the other side low created a clear and decipherable shop. The jury was very impressed by these spatial solutions, as well as by the gorgeous lighting plan. The combination of book complex and church interior were deemed particularly successful.”

Photos are by Roos Aldershoff. NB if you like this, have at look at Qubus Studio's interior for the St. Bartholomew’s Church in the village of Chodovice, Eastern Bohemia.

Posted on Tuesday December 4th 2007 at 12:46 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • ania

    it’s sad that people don’t go to church anymore, but at least this project preserves the glorious architecture and brings people in.

  • Tesign

    This is just awesome

  • Rachel

    seirously??? it looks like a starbux in a church!!! nope. not creative. not inspiring. very deja vu! and insulting to how beautifully built the church is.

  • bdvp

    Some call it the house of God … Remember that mankind created these buildings in the first place. If you are a true believer then the house of God isn't a building, but your heart. I'm not a preacher, trust me… I just don't appreciate the way some people say it's not a good thing to convert a church into this wonderful bookshop.

    Some can be very hypocritical for my taste, but hey isn't that how Church works? Only accept what turns out well for them and preach to the other what's bad!

    Get out of that holistic bubble and step into the real world.

    on the other hand

    I believe the building, space, program, materials and atmosphere to be very nice and well accomodating. I was there about a year ago and it was the perfect place to have coffee after searching for a good interesting architecture magazine.

    I might provoce something here but, muslims convert old warehouses into mosques so maybe there is something there as well! This is just the other way and done in a very contemporary way.

    Look at it from an architectural instead of a religious point of view. That's where the professionals seperate from the amateurs.

    Honest opinion from a belgian architect based in spain

  • This is an amazing reuse for this building. I am in commercial real estate and specialize in historic and adaptive reuse properties. I have 2 churches for sale at the moment and one would be better served as something else. This converted church is an inspiration to what can be done with resources and dedication. Bravo!

  • Lycia

    Question for those agains re-use of the church: Would you rather that this building were demolished, to put a much more commercial looking store in it's place?

    Clearly, it can no longer support itself as a church. Of all possible re-uses, I love this idea.

    And really, why protest it being a place of knowledge when making copies of books used to be one of the most usefull tasks of monks.

    Also, I know a place in Utrecht where a church has been changed into a Beer café. http://utrecht.cafe-olivier.be/
    But I'm sure God doesn't mind that one…

  • Lukas

    One day when the global church runs out of money there'll surely be an apple store in St Peter's Dome

  • Boots

    “They” don’t build like that anymore… Why?

  • Gayle Alstrom

    I love all the photos of the bookshops, but this is my favourite.