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The church that became a library

18 of October '22


In the Dutch town of Vught, a historic church has been given new life and turned into a library and cultural center. The architectural firm Molenaar & Bol & vanDillen is responsible for this unusual metamorphosis. To give the huge interior friendly acoustics, the designers used innovative Eleganza smooth ceilings.

The historic church was built in 1884. However, it had been closed for decades. However, local authorities and architects decided to give the building new life, and make the interiors once again a place for people to meet and have a spiritual "feast." This is how a modern cultural center was created , with a library, meeting rooms and event space - DePetrus.

DePetrus cultural center

DePetrus cultural center

© Knauf Ceiling Solutions

A huge space that doesn't get tiring

The decor of the former church itself is so ornate that it didn't need too many changes. The main eye-catcher is still the windows filled with colorful stained glass, with which thousands of books stacked on shelves interact to create a stained glass-like mosaic of colors and small shapes. The design of the Dutch studio also did not involve interfering with the historic structure or changing architectural details. That's why even today the walls and ceiling of the interior are decorated with bay windows, ornate stone columns or cornices.

DePetrus cultural center

DePetrus cultural center

© Knauf Ceiling Solutions

Acoustics are a problem in such large edifices. Huge spaces and hard surfaces mean that reverberation can be really troublesome for users. And, after all, the idea was to make event participants and people meeting at DePetrus feel comfortable. However, the specifics of the interior did not allow the use of the most efficient finishing materials that improve acoustics, namely classic modular suspended ceiling tiles. The designers decided to use an innovative solution - smooth acoustic Eleganza ceilings from Knauf Ceiling Solutions.

DePetrus cultural center

DePetrus cultural center

© Knauf Ceiling Solutions

The only significant, yet eye-catching change is the construction of a special mezzanine of 500 sqm. It was created around the church entering the nave. It serves several functions: it gives additional space on which conference rooms are located. But the use of Eleganza monolithic ceilings on the ceilings of the added storey made it possible to achieve ear-friendly acoustic parameters in the interior. In addition, the smooth white surface of the ceiling, through its high light reflectance coefficient - at 81% - helps to illuminate the interior, which is inherently dark in church buildings.

This is pure savings in energy costs as well. The white, reflective ceilings mean that there is no need for excessive artificial lighting in DePetrus, explains Dariusz Surdyk, project manager at Knauf Ceiling Solutions.

DePetrus cultural center

DePetrus cultural center

© Knauf Ceiling Solutions

White dominates not only on the ceiling of the added mezzanine. This shade was used throughout the entire structure. This has given the brick interior of the church a lightness, which is given by the white, swirling wavy mezzanine. And the additional floor is also a gallery from which DePetrus visitors admire the entire interior of the former church from above.

For more information, visit the company's KNAUF CEILING SOLUTIONS Sp. z o.o. page on the A&B portal.

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