A church growing within its own walls
- Social Spaces
A reformed church community in Gouda faced the challenge of revitalising the church building and a desire for more programming possibilities. The members of the church have collective responsibility for the building. Open Kaart formed a plan through co-creation with the churchgoers with ninty-five procent approval and a serious collective investment from the community.
At the beginning of the project there was no clear vision about what needed to happen with the building and very few reserves for a renovation.
Significant maintenance and sustainability go together with decisions about how the building will be used in the future and about the church’s role in the neighbourhood.
This requires a thoughtful and co-creative process.
Lekkenburg 148, Gouda, Nederland
Maart 2016 – April 2019
Wessel Jonker, Architect
Extra seating was made possible by rotating the orientation of the congregation hall 90 degrees. Large openings in the wall between the hall and reception space provided the possibility to add an additional 83 chairs on busy days. Orientating the chairs in a half circle created more connection with the congregation and reduced the average distance to the altar by half. One room was also made available for the young children. Previously, this space had to be rented somewhere else in the neighbourhood.
The new lay-out created an orderly space and a building with many possible functions. Special attention was paid to the kitchen and bar, which were relocated to be by the entry. Visitors now enter in a pleasant space, filled with daylight. This also makes the building a more attractive place to meet during the week. An innovative concept for heating and ventilation stems from the infrequent but intensive use of the building.
The high degree of engagement with the church members in the design process was not only necessary to find common ground; It also released creative energy in the project. All the way up to the opening volunteers – both young and old – worked, designed, and organised to give the building and surroundings an extra layer of quality and character. The meters high glass artwork, designed and realised by churchgoers, is a prime example of this.
The design process contributed to developing a vision, support, and engagement within the church. This led to a new motto for the church community: Believing and Gathering.
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