Before reaching the next remodelled church, we strolled around the narrow streets. I was straggling because of my poor back condition and paused to stop and enter buildings that looked inviting from outside. I must say, these University buildings, they're very big on covering courtyards with glass.
I stumbled into the ICIS building (International Centre for Integrated assessment and sustainable development). What an agreeable space the court yard is. Even in the Nieuwenhof building the common room had a glazed roof.
Last on the list was the Dominican church, now a bookstore. It is the text book remodeling project that always shows up in glossy magazines, along with the Kruisheren hotel.
We were not disappointed.
Again, a very different atmosphere going from blazing sunlight to the slightly muted atmosphere that still clings to church buildings, even though it is a shop with people bustling in and out and a cafeteria located in the choir.
I've noticed how everyone in the group tended to sink their voices to the level of a murmur. Very strange that a building can have that sort of an impact on behaviour.
I'm sure we're all very good mannered, I know a lot of people can't even be quiet even in a church that is still consecrated.
Again here was opted for the placing of a big boxy thing in the length of the nave.
It's a steel construction holding books, staircases and some little information desks. Again, this construction can be removed if the whole space of the church is needed in future.
From the platforms one can overlook the rest of the church and the murals on the ceiling. It is actually pretty busy, people going in and out all the time. Notice how some grave stones were still in place and the polished concrete floor was placed around it.
In a side chapel, where a cosy corner has been made, the rabbit Nijntje got the place of honour among the children's books.
In the place where the main altar used to be a cross shaped table has been placed. Alas, we didn't have time to get some coffee and cake (oh my how those cheese-cakes looked absolutely delicious!). Again, some lights in the chandelier didn't work and I got all upset again.
Oh, and books on architecture are to be found on the first floor.
Anyway, after this very brief trip to Maastricht, we were all very happy to have seen some examples of remodeling.
I would love to see more of these projects in Belgium, but as things stand, we're lagging behind a good 20 years or so.
There's plenty of stuff to be done here, hundreds of parochial churches are empty as we speak and hundreds more are to follow. Strange how remodeled churches are still some kind of taboo over here.
But things are slightly changing. It will take a while, hopefully not too long, or unused churches will begin to fall down of their own accord.