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Amsterdam (NH): St. Dominicuskerk (P.J.H. Cuypers, 1884-1893)

The Dominicuskerk is probably one of the oddest churches P.J.H. Cuypers ever designed. It replaced a neo-Classical church, which itself was built as the successor of a hidden church named 'Het Stadhuis van Hoorn' which was served by Dominican priests. When Cuypers was commissioned to build a bigger church on the same location he was confronted with a few limitations. The available space was quite small, while the church would be surrounded by houses on three sides. Cuypers managed to design a church that made optimal use of the situation. It became a three-aisled church, inspired by the Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. While the central aisle is wide, the side-aisles are very narrow. Instead of vaults, which would have required wider side-aisles, the space was covered by a level wooden ceiling which was supported by bars and arches of iron. This construction resulted in an optimal view at the altar for everyone inside the church, without any pillars standing in the way. The choir is very narrow too, and the apse was built inside the presbytery. The facade follows the diagonal direction of the alley it stands in. The transept does not extend the overall width of the church. The tower is unfinished; permission for its construction was never granted for safety reasons. A drawing of the design suggests that Cuypers expected the houses in front of the facade to be demolished to make space for a square. Would this wish have come true the tower probably could have been completed. It would have been a hexagonal tower of 85 meters tall, with an open iron spire on top.
Most of the furnishing inside the church was designed by Cuypers as well and was added in the next decades. The interior of the nave was painted in 1926. The inside of the church has been very well preserved and shows no signs of the wave of simplification in the 1960's. Plans to demolish the church have been abandoned. In 1972 it became a protected monument. Today the church is used by a oecumenical community.








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