Have you ever thought what can abandoned church become?
Nowadays churches lose its function, there are less people who go to the churches. Sometimes there are too many churches in the city for a particular amount of people. Some churches might and some are already losing their actual function, and we are responsible to maintain these monumental buildings. They used to be the most important buildings of the cities. We have to keep them! I am not talking about religion, I am talking about the architecture.
That would be a disaster if churches would get abandoned and damaged. But have can we use them? How can we revitalize a church? What kind of functions fit there?
And that makes us think about another function for the churches.
So what can a church become?
I visited Belgium, Gent and I saw 3 churches which were abandoned and about to be destroyed. There are many other churches which are used but these were not anymore. So people decided to put there other function and now they are still usable.
That might be considered as a disgrace but on the other hand, it is better to put there something else than to leave the monumental building abandoned and empty. Churches used to be the first buildings and the most important ones. Now there is a different century and new needs. The only way to maintain an empty church is to put there something contemporary. Something, what people need and something where they will go.
The church as a studio
I visited a university campus which is put in the old monastery and there is also a church on the campus. I was wondering what is in the church. Then I got in and I was completely shocked. I could never guess that there could be a creative studio. Imagine your working units, desks and modelling space. Do you think that fits in the building of an old church? Even if I might be a little bit conservative, I think that it fits there perfectly! There are some tables in the cold area and they also built some units where they can maintain the heat so it is possible to work there also during cold weather. And they put there some 3D printers, laser cutters and stuff like that. I find it great!
The church as a restaurant
Seems like there in the city is too many churches because there is not just one which needs to be revitalized. There was another church which was used as a restaurant.
What are the pros for the churches? Usually, that is architecture with high ceilings, spacious place, monumentality and decorative ornaments. Churches are monumental and high buildings. They are the landmarks of the cities. They are usually old so there is no heating system which means that it might be cold inside. As they have high ceilings they are full of fresh air. That is important for a public building. Cons we should consider would be the acoustics and cold atmosphere. But that can be adjustable.
The churches usually become a heritage of culture and architecture. And there is also something special when you enter the building. I don’t know how to call it if it is an aura or just a feeling but there is something that is nowhere else. And I think you would agree that we must keep it!
The church as a cafe
And this one is working also at nights. I think that if this particular church has been abandoned then anything there would be better than nothing. And this is so nice to have this place which works at nights so people can experience the beauty and power of the place.
P.S. Just don’t get me wrong. I am not saying now to put something different in the church, I am just writing this to show the ways how abandoned churches could be used.