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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Shopping Centers
  4. The Netherlands
  5. BK. Architecten
  6. 2013
  7. Waanders In de Broeren / BK. Architecten

Waanders In de Broeren / BK. Architecten

  • 01:00 - 2 September, 2013
Waanders In de Broeren / BK. Architecten
©  Joop van Putten
©  Joop van Putten

© Hans Westerink © Hans Westerink ©  Joop van Putten © Hans Westerink +27

  • Contractor

    Trebbe bouw
  • Installations

  • Graphic Design


From the architect. INTRODUCTION

On Saturday the 13th of july 2013 ‘Waanders In de Broeren’ opened his doors for the general public. This innovative shop concept is established in the 15th century Broerenkerk. In the shop design three floors and a shopinterior are added to the church. With this new function the city of Zwolle maintains this unique cultural heritage site .

© Hans Westerink
© Hans Westerink

BK. Architecten – Jos Burger and Wouter Keijzer - made the designs for this project and accompanied the total building proces.

©  Joop van Putten
©  Joop van Putten


The architectural concept of this shop in church is based on two, sometimes conflicting, elements. The first time we entered this church we immediately felt the historical value of this building. The space, the height, the long axis, the high arches, enormous stained glass windows, the ceiling paintings and the pipe organ: this 15th century building really earned his place in the city of Zwolle. For the Waanders in de Broeren project we were asked to add about 700 square meter shopping floor to this dominican church. Our first goal was to keep that first time historical feeling alive even with all those asked extra floor meters. So we wanted all the additions made to the church to be sober, in respect to the church, modest. Therefore the 3 added floors are placed in the side wing of the church between the original pillars, outside the central ship. The construction of these floors isn't connected to the church, so therefore in the future the build in floors could be removed without demolishing the building. 

© Hans Westerink
© Hans Westerink

With keeping the central axis free you still can feel the size of the church. Having main eye-catchers on both sides of the axis -with the organ and a modern stained glass window (designed by Norwegian artist Kjell Nupen) will stimulate customers to overlook the entire length of the Broerenkerk. The materials we used for our additions are all very pure and sober. We only used wood in 3 colours and white painted plastering work. So the main colour palet in the store will come from the warm tints of the church and off course the colours of the books and other products.

©  Joop van Putten
©  Joop van Putten

On the other hand the main goal of the shop off course is selling products. So our main designing goal had to be creating an optimal store concept, with logical routings and attractive product presentation. In a multilevel store one of the most important things is to get customers on your top floor. Once you have your customers there they will have to get back down and with going down they will have to pass all of your floors and see all of the products you're selling. With this in mind we created an attractive central staircase. On these stairs you rise only half a level a time and by climbing the stairs you walk around an 11m bookcase. So you don't really feel like climbing a stair, it's more an experience that ends straight under the renovated church arches. The bookcases are part of the main construction.

© Hans Westerink
© Hans Westerink

Our client in this project, mister Waanders, told us in our first conversation about a Dutch architect called Dom Hans van der Laan. This architect was a monk and made designs for several monasteries. The furniture in these designs is often made of wood and always very sober and well detailed. For the furniture here in the church we found inspiration in his work and we tried to translate his way of designing to designs well fitted for retail objectives.

Second Floor Plan
Second Floor Plan
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Waanders In de Broeren / BK. Architecten" 02 Sep 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


TheArchNarc · March 26, 2015

I will say firstly that re-fitting of a gothic church for modern purposes is always going to be difficult and is especially fraught with aesthetic conflicts. It is admirable that architects and builders seek to maintain the occupancy of these buildings so that they will survive well into the future. My primary complaint however is that the new addition looks very typical of multilevel public libraries, produced during the 1960's and 1970's. Surely, if this project is to respect the former grandeur of this building, the new addition could be something more inspiring. Perhaps the use of glass or geometry in contrast to the existing grid layout might provide a more exciting contrast between the two works. It is so rare to have high vaulted ceilings in modern buildings, so why do the white floors have to divide the aisle space so insistently? We are also now in the 21st Century, so not everything has to be white or monochrome. The black bookshelves are disturbingly reminiscent of an Ikea showroom.

CrazyPuppet · September 05, 2013

this place is far too beautiful to acomodate shop

MathijsR · November 25, 2013 03:40 AM

You do have to realize that part of this project was to restore parts of the church like the ceiling paintings and old pipe organ. Before the Broerenkerk accommodated this shop is was practically abandoned for the last 25 years (except for some events) and started to deteriorate immensely. Waanders bookstore and the Broerenkerk have never looked better in those 25 years.

Even though it isn't

Rizky Muzakir · September 05, 2013

Love how the Dutch converted their churches into everything from library to fire department

Croco Dile · September 04, 2013

A cheap looking interior out of a very nice space - this is NOT how it should be !


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