Holy humour

by Michele Koh Morollo on Feb 18, 2015 in Architecture
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Greeting visitors on the green lawn in front of the entrance of the house is a small herd of 'lost sheep' made of wood boards (Photo courtesy of Vincent van den Hoven)

Greeting visitors on the green lawn in front of the entrance of the house is a small herd of 'lost sheep' made of wood boards (Photo courtesy of Vincent van den Hoven)

Ecclesiastical witticisms and creative but cost-effective details imbue this renovated 1928 church in the Netherlands with a spirit of fun

Architect Ronald Olthof of Dutch firm Leijh Kappelhoff Seckel van den Doppelsteen Architecten (LKSVDD), who lives in a former Dutch Reformed Evangelism church in Haarlo, the Netherlands, understands that the best way to approach religion is with a sense of humour.

In 2012, working with a limited budget, LKSVDD renovated and transformed an old church which was built in 1928 into a slightly irreverent, but extremely groovy loft studio home for Oltoff, his stylist wife Sofie Siuker and their twin sons Boris and Midas. "We named our home God's Loftstory — which sounds like 'love story' — because we fell in love with the building and the place, and we made the church into a loft," says Olthof. This play on words continues in various sections of the home, which are christened with celestially-inspired nicknames.

LKSVDD worked at preserving as much of the building's rich historical details as possible. The interior was reinvented via a simple process of stripping, isolating and furnishing. To maximise the 1,100 cubic metre volume and height of the space, a floor plan was conceived that would allow for much openness and flexibility. Most of the key features of this monumental church — the façade, the bell tower with a clock, the pitched wooded roof, old panel doors and arched stained glass windows — were retained.

This is a preview of the "Holy humour” article from the March 2015 issue of Perspective magazine.

To continue reading, get your copy of Perspective.

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