Along the river De Rotte in Rotterdam stands a wooden church from 1930. The church was not in function anymore and was used as a garage for fixing and selling cars. The church was totally covered with metal plates and looked like a hangar. At the moment of the pitch, the building was in decline. Architecture office Ruud Visser in corporation with Peter Boer designed a ‘house in the church’ for a family with two children.
Architect: Ruud Visser Architecten Location: Hillegersberg, Rotterdam, Netherlands Project Architects: Ruud Visser and Peter Boer Structural Constructor: Aannemingsbedrijf Rodenburg, Bergschenhoek Finishing Constructor: 13 Speciaal, Rotterdam Photography: René de Wit
From the architect: With a volume of 3000 cube, the church is as big as six average family houses. We could just blow up the program for an average family dwelling by six times. Or we could make a house with twenty rooms. But that was not our goal.
Our starting point was to design a ‘luxurious house, of normal measurements’ for a family with two children. This ‘house’ will be situated inside the church as an independent object. Crucial in the design is the space between the house and the church. In this space you will experience the confrontation between the sacred and everyday living. This space is held open so you can actually walk around the house while walking inside the church.
On the back-side of the original church was the choir. A smaller and lower volume than the actual church. With its back facade directly situated on the bank of the river De Rotte. The original volume of the choir is replaced by a modern volume, with the same measurements but much shorter and with the back facade completely out of glass. The formerly ‘transept’ of the church (cross-ship) is laid open now. And is designed as an immense void, where the whole original church can be seen.
The new glass-façade opens the church to the river and gives a magnificent view off the landscape. The transept now functions as a buffer between the outside and the private house. The glass-façade with the huge sliding-doors, the white frame of steal and the moveable blinds in the back-façade, make a striking look along the river-side.