Waanders In de Broeren
Monday 09 Sep 2013


This innovative shop concept, Waanders In de Broeren, by BK. Architecten is the refurbished the interiors of a 15th century church in Broerenkerk, Zwolle, The Netherlands. The shop interior is designed over three floors as an addition to the inside of the original church to create a new retail function for the heritage site.

The bookshop opened its doors to the general public in July, adding 700 sq m of shopping floor to the unique site, emphasising the high arches and stained glass windows of the enormous space. Jos Burger and Wouter Keijzer from BK. Architecten wanted to keep the initial historical value when entering the space as the dominant feature for visitors despite the additional retail floors. They explain their design concept:

“We wanted all the additions made to the church to be sober, in respect to the church, modest. Therefore the 3 added floors are placed in the side wing of the church between the original pillars, outside the central ship. The construction of these floors isn't connected to the church, so therefore in the future the built in floors can be removed without demolishing the building.”

Key to the design brief was the goal to create an optimal store concept with attractive product presentation, and a logical route for customers. With a multi-level store it was important to entice customers to the top floor and pass through the space and the floors to see all the products. BK. Architecten solved this by creating an attractive central staircase which draws the visitor through the levels of the store and through the products on display, ending at the renovated church arches.

The main colour palette uses wood in three colours, with white painted plastering. Warm colour tints are provided by the existing features of the church, as well as from the books and other products sold. The modern stained glass window was designed by Norwegian artist Kjell Nupen draws customers to look through the entire length of the Broerenkerk.

With the bookcases as part of the main construction, the 11m shelving units are made of wood like the majority of the furniture used in the project, and are reminiscent of the sober designs the centuries-old church would have contained in its past.

BK. Architecten