With Bookhounds of London going to print right about now, it’s rather timely to see this story of a bookstore built in a 750 year old Dominican church.
From the store’s Flickr stream.
Whether you’re religious or not, this old Dominican church will certainly bring you the enlightenment you’ve been seeking. After months of renovation this magnificent structure originally constructed in 1294 has opened its doors to the public as a “brand new” bookstore in the heart of Maastricht. …
Dating back to the 13th century, the structure was a Dominican church until Maastricht was invaded by Napoleon in 1794 and the group was forced out of the country. Since that point it has been briefly used as a parish, then a warehouse, then an archive, then a giant parking lot for bicycles (not such a terrible idea) and finally made over into a bookstore.
One thing that strikes me as slightly odd is that while the whole design looks really classy, the crucifix shaped reading table in the nave seems a bit kitsch.
From Crossroads magazine.
Aside from this rather marvellous bookstore, what other things might be put in a disused church? As the article mentions, this church has also been a warehouse and bike parking-lot, and there are many other churches that have become nightclubs (so many that it’s something of a cliché). Might a church have become a hostel, a hospital, or even a home? Might it be a factory, a restaurant, or a school? Or perhaps one of those discount stores that seem to pop-up in malls to fill empty store-fronts. And wouldn’t it surprise the new tenants to learn that the treasure of Abbot Thomas was still hidden there?