Re-Use Achieved with Elegance

Portal to the Kruisherenhotel, Maastricht
Camera: Canon EOS 7D | Lens: EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM | Date: 24-07-2011 11:38 | ISO: 200 | Exp. bias: -1 EV | Exp. Time: 1/40s | Aperture: 10.0 | Focal Length: 18.0mm (~29.2mm) | Location: Derlon Hotel Maastricht | State/Province: Limburg | See map | Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM

I just realised I haven’t posted anything for a week or two, so I thought you might like to see one of my photos. We had a great trip last year to Maastricht, enjoying not only the wandering around a beautiful European city and great shopping, but also an Andre Rieu concert. We’d never heard of this musician and showman before, and now you can hardly move without him popping up somewhere!

Steadily reducing church congregations are a common problem in many European countries, and like elsewhere Maastricht has the challenge of what to do with churches which are no longer viable in their original use. It’s criminal if they are destroyed, and a great shame if their architectural value is degraded by any conversion. In Maastricht they seem to have this tapped, having developed several old churches very sensitively, with the new structures “floating” inside the old shell. The Selexyz bookstore is a prime example, where you can visibly see how the bookstore and coffee shop just “sit” inside the old building, which could easily be re-adapted to its original use, or a different new one. However our favourite was the Kruisherenhotel, pictured here. From the copper entrance portal and throughout they have filled it with fantastic sculptural elements using very modern materials, set against the backdrop of the original painted ceilings and stained glass windows, again with the majority of the original architecture preserved. This is how it should be done.

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