House in a Church

Along the river De Rotte in Rotterdam, the Netherlands there is a wooden church from 1930. This church was decommissioned as a sanctuary and was being used as a garage for fixing and selling cars for a long time.

The church was covered with metal plates and looked like a hangar. Up until a family came along and wanted to make it their home. With the help of Ruud Visser Architects and Peter Boer, the church was adapted into a home for a family of four.

Being a former community space, the church is six times as big as a family house in that area. The architects could have just create a huge house with equally huge rooms. Alternatively, they could have made a house with twenty rooms. But that was not their goal.

Their starting point was to design a

luxurious house of normal measurements

for a family with two children. This ‘house’ will be situated inside the church as an independent object. So you can actually walk around the new house, while walking inside the church.

The back part of the church, the transept where the pulpit was, lightened by the original coloured-glass windows. The architects held this space open as an immense void, where the original church can be seen as a whole.

Situated on the back of the church, directly behind the transept, a smaller volume was placed. This volume was about 7 meters deep and stands with its back façade directly on the banks of the river De Rotte. Originally this was the place of the church-choir. The architects replaced the church-choir with a new modern volume, with exactly the same form as the original choir, with floor-to-roof windows.

With this, the church is opened to the beautiful landscape. The transept has become a buffer, between the public outside and the private house inside.

Where possible, the architects brought back the front-façade and the side-facades in their original 1930’s state.

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