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Bookstore Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht, Netherlands

Monday 22 Sep 2008

Ecclesiastical arcade

Roos Aldershoff 
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25/09/08 Peter Hancock, Maseru
As an architect who has long been associated with the Dominican Order, as it seems a
pity, to my mind, that this magnificent former Dominican church [the Dominican Order was founded by St Dominic (1170-1221)], is now secularized to become a library.

One appreciates the desire of the designers not to interrupt the spatial unity of the building, longitudinally; but transeversely, that is exactly what they have done.

It might actually have been better to have inserted one or two floors, across the whole width of the nave; or better still, to have located the bookshelves in the side aisles and left the nave intact, as a reading room. This would have preserved the spatial unity of the building, and left the whole area of the painted vaulting clearly visible.
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Countdown to Battle of Barcelona brings out the best of the best… 

As the countdown to the Battle of Barcelona begins, (World Architecture Festival or WAF as its better known), so some incredible examples of contemporary architecture are starting to get exposed. This is just one of 224 projects shortlisted for the three days of presentations, knockouts, eliminations and for a few, Glory.

Dutch architects Merkx+Girod have used the novel location of a church to create this dramatic modern Bookstore for clients Selexyz Dominicanen. Merkx+Girod were commissioned by the Dutch booksellers to convert the interior of the former Dominican Church in Maastricht into a modern bookstore. For the same client M+G had previously designed two bookstores in The Hague and Almere. The unique location in Maastricht however asked for a very different approach. The store demanded 1,200 sq m of commercial area where only 750 were available.

The initial idea of the client to install a second floor within the church was rejected by the designers, because this would completely destroy the spatial qualities of the church. The solution was found in the creation of a monumental walk-in bookcase spanning several floors and situated a-symmetrically in the church. In doing so the left side of the church remained empty while on the other side customers are lead upstairs in the three- storey ‘Bookflat.’

The ground floor gives room to several different book displays, information desks, magazine-stands and cash registers, all made of standard sheet materials in different colours and surfaces.

Michael Hammond
Editorial Director

Key Facts

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Value 0(m€)
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Merkx+Girod architects

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