Thursday, January 10


Dominican Church Turned Into Bookshop - I Suppose It Could Be Worse

I am always of two minds whether it is better to simply tear down a church after it falls into obsolescence, or to countenance its metamorphosis into condos, nightclubs or worse. On the one hand, we can always get it back when demographics and cash-flow swing back our way; on the other hand, there's something strangely unheimlich about walking past a building shaped like a church that is no longer.

However, Merkx + Girod Architects (with their trendy little plus-sign instead of a proper ampersand--aren't we just twenty pounds of hipness in a nineteen-pound bag?) recently won an award for turning a Dominican church in Maastrict into a bookshop. I suppose, though, if we have to choose our poison, books are a fairly Dominican one. The irony is, the coffee-shop they've stuck in the apse, with its baldachin-like Close Encounters of the Third Kind corona lucis looks considerably more ecclesiastical than the usual Vosko-inspired coffee-tables we find in real, consecrated churches in our own country.

Also, and while most of the comments on the page linked here are typical adulation and conventional ingrown anticlericalism from the agnostic lumpenböhmisch*, the first posting is the perfect response.

*It's like the lumpenproletariat, but with headscarves, overpriced lofts and dangly earrings.

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