God's loftstory: a house that tackles taboos with a sense of humour

LKSVDD presents the original reuse of a church in the Netherlands

by Malcolm Clark
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God's Loftstory, designed by LKSVDD architecten, is an original and for some maybe a rather unsettling example of religious building restoration, specifically the former Dutch Reformed Evangelism Church in Hengelo, the Netherlands.

The idea behind this project is very simple and at the same time very North European: freeing the mind of dogmatism and trying to recognize and use the space for what it is, converting it to a new function and taking the liberty of playing a little with the “superstructures” related to its history.

The designers join the owners in an invitation: “Cherish your inner child; remain pure, playing, exploring and a little bit naughty!”

Le differenze di sensibilità rispetto ai paesi nordici sono ancora evidenti e, come per la piccola protagonista dalle trecce rosse, la censura della morale e del quieto vivere limiterebbero probabilmente le soluzioni più provocatorie e ironiche. Analysing the architecture without preconceptions you can see how it has been treated with the utmost respect, preserving not only the existence with a careful restoration but above all considering the spatial value.

Indeed the choice to not break up the space but to minimise the demands, in order to retain the spaciousness of the building was a conscious one. The only architectural additions are the mezzanine for the relaxation room (couch, bed and bath) and the multifunctional “Stairway to have fun” which is simultaneously a staircase, room divider, closet, built-in kitchen, acoustic element and exhibition wall.

The materials used are pure, sober, functional and, something rather important, cheap: grey concrete for the floors (the original wooden ones of the church were reused as a cladding of the “Stairway to have fun”); stainless steel for the kitchen, glass for some interior partitions, white plaster (to wrap everything in light), and a strategic choice of a few red accents.

This project demonstrates a great passion, respect and love ... for Creativity, which is left free to express itself with a great sense of humour. This sense of humour can be seen in the “gates to heaven”, flanked by a tapestry of guardian angels, the “Staircase to have fun” the “holy shit” written on the toilet, the niches with lights and strange birds “who have seen the light”or the “lost sheep” made of wood in the garden. A house to live in or a contemporary art installation, what do you think?

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    God's Loftstory 94

    God's Loftstory

    Hengelo / Netherlands / 2012