This awesome spectacle is medieval Broerenkerk cathedral in Zwolle, Netherlands, complete with a huge jewel of an original stained glass window. The lofty architectural beauty has been carefully transformed into modern book shop Waanders in de Broeren, by BK Architecten, with work that was permitted under the very strict instructions that the renovation must be fully reversible to ensure that the medieval marvel can be returned to its previous glory.
The two callings of this 15th century building truly work hand in hand, as a church invokes the perfect atmosphere of hushed study that is required for a serious book shop, and spanning three huge mezzanine floors this really is a serious book store! Each level looks out across the vast space, topped by a stunning vaulted ceiling that arches its way down to the cobalt colored glass panels of the towering window at the far end.
In order to achieve this layer cake of bookshelves without ruining the ancient walls and pillars, the designers had to get creative, and so a freestanding structure was installed that would climb this heavenly height.
To remain sympathetic to the elegant 547 year old Gothic surroundings, the balconies were created in white with other aspects appearing only in neutrals and natural timber, as seen in the handrails along each perimeter and making up the staircases. Glass balustrades allow the light to flow freely through the stairwells, as well as appearing minimal and unobstructive. The furniture design found inspiration in the work of Dom Hans vd Avenue, with simple wooden pieces sitting at home in their serene scene.
The sleek transformation maintained the commanding majesty of the pipe organ, where the lighting arrangement has been extended to illuminate the gilded decoration.
For more modern church conversion ideas check out A Church Remodelled into a Residence