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Maastricht (L): H. Hartkerk (A.J.N. Boosten & J. Ritzen, 1921-1922)

In 1912 the construction of a new church was announced, that was to be built in the Wijck neighbourhood of Maastricht, near the station. This was to be a neo-Gothic church designed by architect M. Rademakers and built of marl. The plan was however postponed and instead only a wooden temporary church was built. By 1920 that had become much too small for the parish and it was decided that an entirely new design was to be made, a centralized church with a big dome. The young architects Boosten and Ritzen were asked to make a design. They made a plan for an octagonal concrete building.

Although the church was praised by other architects, the conservative clergy in the Roermond diocese, who still clung on to neo-Gothic, could not appreciate it. Boosten even had to defend himself against accusations of socialism. Still, work started in 1921. A concrete skeleton was covered with natural stone, including marl. Resting on eight pillars which are hidden inside the walls are two concrete domes, in between which is a space of ca. 2 metres. In 1929 a baptistry and an extention at the back were added, followed in 1953 by a side-aisle with a chapel. Many famous artists took care of parts of the interior. Two towers had been in the design but they were never built.

This church and the H. Johannes de Doper in Eygelshoven of the same period were the only two complete churches the two architect built together. Ritzen moved to Antwerpen in 1924 and became a fairly succesful architect in Belgium, building several more churches as well. Boosten on the other hand stayed in Maastricht. The conservative clergy of Limburg, who in many cases still clung to neo-Gothic, prevented him from getting further assignments for churches until 1929. By that time the climate for progressive church architecture had improved, and although he ultimately became the most important architect of churches in the Roermond diocese Boosten would never get such a big assignment again.






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