The Remonstrant Church in Groningen has been converted and enlarged to encompass a church, an exhibition space, a conference room and an office. The starting point was the church building, dating from 1887, and the sexton’s house, dating from 1907. The interior of the church was thoroughly modernized in the 1920s and 1970s, all but erasing the original interior. The client, the Foundation for Old Groningen Churches, is renowned for restoring or renovating empty churches and for finding and developing new uses for them. This was an exceptional combination of religious and secular functions. A sense of unity, which we see as the essence of the church, was at the heart of the design. A sanctuary with offices. These two worlds are joined in the circulation space between the offices and the sanctuary, which is demarcated by a plastered balustrade and glass walls with wooden columns.
The major transformation the church has undergone is visible on the outside through the addition of a glass entrance, which houses a new staircase, a lift and toilets. This light extension with wooden stanchions sits alongside the monumental stone facade of the church and symbolizes forward-looking, dynamic change. The sexton’s house has been restored to its original state. We carried out a colour research to establish the colour of each room. This brought expression to the richness of this historic building and its interior.
The outcome is an exceptional ensemble of tradition and renewal with three components: the church (renovation), the sexton’s house (restoration) and the entrance (new).