Is modern day shoebox housing your idea of a living hell? Or does residing in a converted church come closer to a personal heaven? Here at Inhabitat we've covered many amazing examples of renovated churches around the world, from heavenly homes and kindergartens, to even a magnificent 15th century church turned into a library. Adaptive-reuse projects like these are essential to protecting cultural heritage sites and preserving architectural works, but they also do a great deal more by transforming otherwise abandoned spaces into something new everyone can enjoy. Check out 6 of our favorite church conversions ahead—they might bring you the enlightenment you’ve been searching for!
Zecc Architects‘ turned St. Jakobus church in The Netherlands, into a modern, cozy home. The renovated holy building, which closed its doors in 1991, has pristine white interiors, an open plan, and plenty of beautiful stained glass windows.
BOLLES+WILSON gave a new lease on life to the elliptical Sebastian Church in Germany. This organic and spacious building now shelters a kindergarten with classrooms and a play area complete with skylights, a slide, and a great deal of toys.
Dow Jones Architects converted an old church right opposite the Houses of Parliament into a fresh modern institution. The Museum of Garden History, which used to be St. Mary-at-Lambeth Parish Church in a previous life, has been reincarnated as a brilliant space dedicated to plants and gardening.
Sally Onions and Ian Bottomley transformed an 18th century basilica into their own holy home. The UK’s St. Nicholas Church has been beautifully restored keeping the original building’s key elements, including the old cemetery in the churchyard!
Ruud Visser Architects transformed a gorgeous 1930s church in The Netherlands into a spacious family home. Facing a river and featuring a fantastic curved wooden ceiling, staying in this grand dwelling will definitely bring forth an otherworldly experience. The home is also six times larger than the average home in the area.
Merkx + Girod turned a Dutch 13th century Dominican church into a stunning bookstore. The resplendent Selexyz Dominicanen—which was once hit by Napoleon’s invasion—was used as a parish, a warehouse, an archive, and a giant parking lot for bikes before becoming “best bookstore in the world”.