This gorgeous 15th century Dominican church was renovated into a modern-day bookstore in the Dutch city of Zwolle. Utrecht-based BK. Architecten designed a 700-square-meter shopping area on three added floors that can be removed in the future without damaging the existing building. The modern stained glass windows, designed by Norwegian artist Kjell Nupen, allow natural light to enter the interior and provide customers with a clear view of the entire area.
Two architects, Jos Burger and Wouter Keijzer of BK. Architecten, in charge of the renovation of the old church decided to preserve the atmosphere of the existing place with a spatial intervention that preserves its historical value. The three new floors were placed in the side wing of the church, between the original pillars, outside the central ship. The new construction is statically independent and can be removed without having to demolish the building.
The architects used three colors and white for the plastering work, keeping the main color palette warm. The main design tool when organizing the space was to get customers to the top floor. With this in mind they created a central staircase “wrapped” around an 11 meter bookcase. For the furniture, the architects were inspired by intricately detailed pieces their Dutch colleague Dom Hans van der Laan already designed for several monasteries.