Be Inspired: Detailing and Patterned Glass in Church Conversions

Once the center of European communities, churches and cathedrals were the most imposing and opulent buildings of any town or city. Now, as congregations decline, many churches are being converted into secular spaces. Some of the most cutting-edge architectural projects have been the residential conversion of religious buildings. This is because such large, characterful spaces demand an enormous amount of creativity and imagination to transform them into functional, stylish living spaces. Here, be inspired by the patterned glass, rustic details and ingenuity of church conversions – where tradition collides head-on with modernity.

Imaginative Use of Space

patterned glass

One of the most exciting aspects of church conversions is the opportunity to be truly experimental with the layout of the building. For example, the floorplan of a church presents many different design challenges: Should it be open plan, or does the space need to be divided? Should there be a mezzanine included for bedrooms? How should the kitchen be laid out?

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The solution to these important questions has been approached in innovative ways by architects and interior designers. Often, the approach incorporates bold contrast. For example in this stunning church conversion in Utrecht, The Netherlands, Zecc Architects divided the space of an old Catholic chapel by creating a mezzanine level around the old organ. Furthermore, the interior design concept was bright, white and modern, punctuated with stunning original features like pews in a wide, open central living space.

Patterned Glass

patterned glass

The highlight of many of the most breathtaking church conversions is the original patterned glass. A central feature of religious ritual, these arresting, haunting designs have been used as the centerpiece for many of the most stunning church conversion projects. For instance, the original stain glass windows are the central feature in this 18th century church in Northumberland, England.

However, there are many church conversions which do not opt for the complete medieval nostalgia look when it comes to traditional stain glass windows. For example, this astonishing church conversion in Chicago, Illinois, executed by Linc Thelen Design and Scrafano Architects, incorporates more subtle Art Nouveau patterned glass. Furthermore, churches in the Spanish style will also tend to have subtler patterned glass windows. This is the case in many churches in Andalucia, which feature beautiful patterned glass windows with geometric designs in traditional Mediterranean oranges, blues and grass greens.

Patterned glass: Original Architectural Details

patterned glass

The original architectural detailing is often the source of exciting interior design concepts within church conversions. For instance, exposed stone is a fabulous conceit from which to create a palette for an interior. By complementing the color and texture of the stone with organic, rich woods and soft lighting, the interior space of a church conversion can feel equally as domestic and cosy as it is dramatic and spacious.

Furthermore, vaulted ceilings are another beautiful original feature of historic buildings that architects and interior designers are consistently inspired by. For example, this incredible church conversion designed by Gianna Camilotti in London, England, uses the original vaulted ceiling to remarkable effect. Contrasted with exceedingly clean, modern interior design, the warm red wood of the original beams create contrast and intrigue.

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