December 30, 2007

Is this the most beautiful bookstore in the world? The Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht opened its doors in November. Located in the city's old Dominican church - which for years had been used as a bicycle parking garage - the building has been extensively redesigned by Dutch architects Merkx + Girod. From the images you can find on the web you can see that it is a bookshop made in heaven. Many books in English too. stolen word for word, outta the Blue, directly from MrMerlot I don't think so. What do you think?

Love the church. Love the idea of a bookstore in the church. Hate the conversion. Like a few Blue commenters, my main objection is to the style and materials used in the metal bookshelves. The table in the shape of a cross is just way too edgy and cool--obvious, people. Good designers would come up with something a bit more subtle. Comments, Monkeys?

  • It's a Frankenstein's monster. Get a torch.
  • Seriously, it doesn't blend, it doesn't integrate. Just two different types of institution uncomfortably occupying the same space.
  • The groined ceilings cry out for carved scrotal shelving ornaments. Not sure if those metal shelves can stand up to the repeated pounding they would get in such a place...
  • brick and mortar bookstore? that's so quaintly 1998. come on, the best bookstore in the world is my couch. yes i know i can't smell the book or hold it before i buy it on amazon, but i have enough books for fragrance and tactile input already around the house.
  • Too cold. Why black metal shelves? Should've used wood. Needs stained glass and triptychs, more color.
  • the building is beautiful, the conversion is not.
  • Purty!
  • What Koko said. The pitch black clashes with the rest of the place. Looks like war-room furniture moved into a church. Wooden furniture would've been so much nicer. Hell, I think any other furniture choice would've worked better.
  • You colonials are just jealous of the old world's surplus church buildings.
  • They just turned the church my mother grew up attending, and which I attended as an adult, into an apartment building. There was still a lot of community inerest in keeping it as a church, but the building was owned by the Conference and they made the decision to sell the property. I still get a twinge every time I go by.
  • Holland is advanced in a lot of areas, but wheelchair accessibility has never been one of them. Facilities for the disabled in general. That said, I don't think the conversion is all that bad. The table shows that they're trying too hard, though. To be fair, though, it's Maastricht, and that final step of "look how clever we are" is quite common. On my last visit there, I remember passing by an old warehouse that had been converted to offices or whatever. Anyway, they'd wanted to install some windows. Fine. Rather than cut out a hole in the brick wall, they knocked out enough bricks to make this huge crack running up the entire wall, widening in places, and installing a roof-to-basement window behind it. Even extended the gap into the sidewalk. It was a nice effect, but one had to wonder how long the old brick and mortar, newly exposed, would last in the constant rain, and why anyone would think it a good idea to have a 10 cm gap in the sidewalk. But I digress. It's a gorgeous town, and I suppose it's hard to make one's mark there otherwise...
  • My neighborhood liquor store used to be a Church of Christ. The church, shockingly enough, sold directly to the liquor store owners. Really pissed off some people in the neighborhood, but I like the poetic turn there. Rumor is that they've still got the gilded baptismal font in the back, and the owner will occasionally take customers back there and show it to them.
  • I've been dunked in the vodka of the Lamb! Oh, wait. Going to hell. Kthxbai
  • A church converted to any other purpose is a church improved. And books rule. So I'll take it.