061-ffh_01

Picture 1 of 17

Residential Church XL

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

By Justin Ray

Photos courtesy Zecc Architects

The Residential Church XL puts a new twist on the phrase house of worship. Netherlands-based Zecc Architects converted the abandoned Saint Jakobus Church in Utrecht into a single family home to save the parish from demolition. Services had not taken place on site for 20 years, and before renovation the building was used for odd jobs, like showing antique furniture, housing small meetings, and hosting concerts.

Zecc left the church's exterior relatively untouched and concentrated their efforts on retrofitting its interior. They preserved key elements, including the original stained glass windows and wooden floors. To make the church a livable space, they converted its expansive central mezzanine into an open plan living room, placed its bedrooms, study, and bathroom underneath, and located the kitchen and dining room at the rear of the nave. Furnishings and interiors by Thomas Haukes of (Springers) Wonen give the house its contemporary looks. Other amenities the home boasts include an internal escalator and a bar—certainly not part of the original parish plan, but necessary to make the church feel like a true home.