What happens when a place of worship is abandoned? Recovery is difficult: the fate of such places is generally to sit empty for years and, at some point, be cordoned off for safety reasons until the inevitable demolition.
Today, historical towns in countries with a strong Christian culture have the problem of what to do with abandoned churches. Lately, however, in Europe as in the U.S., there have been some very interesting cases of converting them to productive uses.
From the architectural point of view, it is clear which are the constraints as well as the opportunities.
The large volumes allow for taking advantage of the vertical space with lofts and cupboards. From an energy point of view, however, it is necessary to limit the dispersion of heat. Raised floors and false walls may help in this regard, while making wiring easier. As for lighting, most certainly it will be possible to count on large windows that broaden the surroundings, however it will be necessary to use appropriately coated glass.
From the aesthetic point of view, the debate is open: should the ambiance be completely redesigned to be more in tune with the new use, or should the original appearance be preserved, emphasizing perhaps the contrast with ultra-modern furnishings and equipment? Perhaps there is no right answer: it is important to listen to the building, immerse oneself in its history, and respectfully interpret its personality.
The “entrepreneurs’ church”: a co-working space in Stockholm
Designboom – BBVH transform church into web design office in the Hague
The headquarters of the web agency Acato in the Hague, in a 19th century church
Joe Zeff Design – The Church
A New Jersey web agency’s headquarters in a 20th century Christian Science church