The balance between secular and sacral: a dignified polyvalent room that can also be a church


Church reconversion


The challenge of this exercise is to unite 2 different programs (the profane and the religious) in the same space. We do not want a split space, but a place where all activities can feel at home. The church can gain in comfort and accessibility by becoming more communal space. The community space can gain in appearance and character through a little more sacredness.
The ideal polyvalent space is rectangular, with a length-width ratio of approximately 1 to 1.5 to 2. In order to obtain the optimal ratio, we think about one row of columns. This creates a surprising asymmetry that allows a much more useful use of the free space. The useless aisle becomes a fully-fledged part of the room. Suddenly there is room for a concert, a foxtrot or a quiz night without running into a heavy row of columns. The left aisle is reserved for secondary functions, ex storage space.
The low zone of the left aisle will have a flat roof. As a result, we can take in plenty of light through an overhead glass section on the north side, and the experience of the church changes drastically.
Along the south side we open the facade towards the new garden. Large double doors allow the multifunctional space and the garden to flow into each other in summer. The adjoining terrace is an ideal place in the sun.
We perforate the facade of the cemetery on the north side with columbaria. In the plane of the facade, marble plaques close off the niches. The columbarium that was present in the cemetery on the south side of the church can be given a new place here.
Finally, a strategic curtain allows to divide the space at will.

  • Design teamDirk Somers and Axel Chevroulet
  • LocationBikschote
  • Year2018
  • StatusCompetition