The integration of clever design, use of materials and technical installations have created a distinctive and robust Catholic church building which provides an inspirational place of worship, now and into the future.

The Catholic diocese in Almere, near Amsterdam, decided they needed a permanent home for the congregation of the St Boniface parish. They wanted a building that would stand the test of time, passing the Catholic faith through future generations. Previously, the parish had used rented buildings which were unattractive, dated and too small.

The diocese contracted Royal HaskoningDHV Building Technology team to design a low-maintenance, sustainable and futureproof building for up to 550 people. It needed to be instantly recognisable as a church and promote a sense of quiet and stillness inside. The architectural style was to be inspired by the Bossche School.

Great design enables simple materials to deliver high value

The challenge for our Building Technology team was to incorporate these soft requirements into the building while providing maximum size for minimal budget. Everyday materials such as wood were used extensively for the structure and finish, together with brick and concrete. This mix of finishes is rarely used in a public building, which helps make it stand out.

“It needed to be a great building, but the available budget meant it was not possible to achieve this through luxurious materials,” said Joep Stolk, project manager. “By integrating lower-cost materials, use of daylight with high-end architecture and good proportions, we were able to bring our client’s vision into reality. With great design, simple materials such as wood can deliver high value.”

Technical installations hidden to create clean interior

The team involved experts from a range of disciplines to deliver an integrated design that responded to all the challenges, from the choice of materials to fire safety. The acoustics needed to be effective for both speaking and singing voices. Furthermore, all the technical installations such as lighting, heating, acoustics and ventilation were hidden to provide a clean and traditional interior.

“The new building looks and feels like a church and makes a big impression,” Joep added. “This is where we are able to add value, by going beyond the client’s specific needs to incorporate even the softer requirements that were desired but could not be quantified.”