House In A Church / Ruud Visser Architects

© René de Wit

Architects: Ruud Visser Architects
Location: , Netherlands
Photographs: René de Wit

Along the river De Rotte in Rotterdam stands a wooden church from 1930. The church was not in function anymore and was used as a garage for fixing and selling cars. The church was totally covered with metal plates and looked like a hangar. At the moment of the pitch, the building was in decline.

Architecture office Ruud Visser in corporation with Peter Boer designed a ‘house in the church’ for a family with two children.

© René de Wit

With a volume of 3000 cube, the church is as big as six average family houses. We could just blow up the program for an average family dwelling by six times. Or we could make a house with twenty rooms. But that was not our goal.

© René de Wit

Our starting point was to design a ‘luxurious house, of normal measurements’ for a family with two children. This ‘house’ will be situated inside the church as an independent object. Crucial in the design is the space between the house and the church. In this space you will experience the confrontation between the sacred and everyday living. This space is held open so you can actually walk around the house while walking inside the church.

© René de Wit

On the back-side of the original church was the choir. A smaller and lower volume than the actual church. With its back facade directly situated on the bank of the river De Rotte. The original volume of the choir is replaced by a modern volume, with the same measurements but much shorter and with the back facade completely out of glass. The formerly ‘transept’ of the church (cross-ship) is laid open now. And is designed as an immense void, where the whole original church can be seen. The new glass-façade opens the church to the river and gives a magnificent view off the landscape. The transept now functions as a buffer between the outside and the private house.

The glass-façade with the huge sliding-doors, the white frame of steal and the moveable blinds in the back-façade, make a striking look along the river-side.

Cite: "House In A Church / Ruud Visser Architects" 23 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • leogar

    very clever reuse of a church.looks very nice.

  • Linda Metman

    nice!! hopefully more of these projects will follow with the discussion on reuse and architecture in the netherlands.

  • bruno

    don’t like interior church style.

    • Ruud

      Hi Bruno, the grey bathroom furniture is not ours. Also the choices of other furniture. The project had to much variables to control everything. So we concentrated on the big lines: staircase, doors and the position of the furniture. We concentrated on place and meisure of the furniture.

      Thanks for your reaction.

      • giordano

        are u kiddin me? see no bathroom.
        actually i mean that arched windows


    The idea of a house in a church is lovely and it looks good too!

  • Linda Metman

    the concept is very strong and consistently worked through on all levels.

  • Adrem


  • macon church

    Great idea and pictures. Thanks for sharing

  • Dennis

    well done!

  • bLogHouse

    The concept “building within a building” (especially when one is new and the other-existing), is not new but always works well. This case is no exception. The space between the container and the contained is both an exterior and interior and is loaded with significance – a very powerful concept.

  • Marc

    I’m a huge fan of houses in churches. I understand the whole idea of placing a box within a box, but I wonder if they haven’t compromised the amazing spacial qualities that the vaulted roof gives. I would celebrate it instead…