transformation of a church
into modern apartments
The Ludgerhof project in Lichtenvoorde meant the retention of a green location in the village, including the former Ludgerkerk (church) and the walled courtyard around it. This building project was possible by adding two-times eight very spacious houses, without detracting from the structure of the existing construction. The rectangular space of the former church became a plaza by simply removing the roof. Entrances to two rows of eight houses were inserted in the long walls on either side. Fourteen of these have an extra bay four metres wide, functioning as a sun lounge. The bay’s use can be determined by the occupant, and is left neutral and open.
Lichtenvoorde was the proud owner of a church with exceptional qualities. It was designed by architect Gerard Schouten who died in 2000. Where can one find a church that you enter via a low gate in a thick wall and over a forecourt with old trees? From the inside, you could see the surrounding tranquil garden and the overgrown wall that turned exterior into interior. Attempts to find a suitable new function appeared to have stagnated. Demolition seemed inevitable, until Hans van Beek (atelier PRO) devised a plan. He transformed this exceptional church into a square with extraordinary houses all around, yet maintained respect for the original construction. In this scheme, the architect was inspired by a church in Sienna through which a street runs.
The wall’s and the greenery have been preserved, as have the entranceway to the forecourt. This entrance way is important because it offers a view of the churches’ wooden facade, resting on slender steel columns. The glass has been removed and you can enter directly.
The interior turns out to be the exterior: the roof has vanished. The sacristy now stands as a centre of silence on the square, the church floor has become the paving of the square. The wooden rear facade rests upon steel columns without glass and from here you can see the green courtyard. The wooden side walls of the church have become the facades of the new houses. Due to the transparent, roofed-over sun lounges, the heart of the apartments, you can gain a view of the original wall. In this way, the footprint of the church remains tangible. This exceptional project has given shape to the concept of ‘being together’, not only by living around the square but also because the houses provide several user options. As a result, each resident has the possibility of realizing an optimum combination of privacy and openness.
The Ludgerhof was classified as a Municipal monument in 2013.