Friday, April 8, 2011

(Sorry for the 100,000 pictures...)

For about 3 years now, something has been sitting in the back of my mind. I read an article in the New York Times design section about a couple who had converted an old church building into a home. I tried in vain to find the article but alas. I remember I didn't really care for their aesthetic... it was very... yellow and spanish-y, but the idea captured me, and I thought... why not? Why should I live in a house? I make spaces, who says to design "out of the box" you have to actually start with a "box?" Also, sustainably, there's something to be said for re-using old buildings that might end up being condemned or demolished.

The idea floated around while I was finishing up school and resurfaced during my 12 hour, poorly designed and impossible to finish, driving course 6 hour online driving course of all places. I was waiting for a timer to run down so I could progress to the next part of the test and stumbling in the mean time to keep myself from slitting my wrists. (dramatic?) Anyway, an article from a design blog came up titled "Modern New Home in an Old Stone Church" by Andy Ball... go ahead an click on the title to read it, but I'm going to summarize a lot of it on here.

Here's what I saw...

This is the little church that is located in Utretcht, Germany
from the front and then the back.

Here are the modified plans and section. They created a series of
levels within the large, awe inspiring, space. They kept a lot of the
classical features including vaulted ceilings, stained glass,
wood pews and original doors too without sacrificing a modern aesthetic. 
I appreciate that. 

Here's the result. This picture is taken from the original mezzanine, just above
"A" in the section looking toward where the platform and altar most likely were,
to the left of "D."

Here are some other pictures of the spaces...

Living areas on top of the new mezzanine...

The dining room on the first floor from several views. It's near "D" on that
section I posted earlier.

And this is the bedroom and bathroom that they created in a new, 
private area underneath the living room-mezzanine.

Yes, it's very white and maybe not the most practical to live in, but I like it. I think that the juxtaposition of those classical features next to the very modern architectural elements is thought provoking and interesting... and lets think about it... with enough time and money, the architects saved this church from ending up abandoned and vandalized. Germany has been a force for contemporary design in the past (Bauhaus, anyone?) so it doesn't surprise me that they are coming up with things like this now. 

Here is a little more food for thought in case the Utretcht church wasn't your cup of tea...

Just look at that marvelous light and high ceilings...

Imagine the great dinner parties... 

 Just try to tell me you don't want this bathroom...

 This appeals to the 12 year old girl in me who wanted tons of stained glass in her future home.

Oh yeah, there's a massive pipe organ in my family room... whatever.

I cheated a little, this is an old concrete factory, not a church... but still!

Still the factory...

Yeah, I know... let's go eat on the porch.

So, I hope someday to have enough money and time to pull something 1/10th as awesome as these homes off... I had a secret plan to buy an old church in Lockport at 421 Market Street, that was built in 1868, and has been on sale for about 10 years... but alas, it got taken off the market in July. I'll have to find another one.  Here are some terrible quality pictures I found online... 



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