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Hilversum (NH): St. Vitus (P.J.H. Cuypers, 1891-1892)

When in 1887 an earlier church had become too small for Hilversum's Roman-Catholic parish of St. Vitus, P.J.H. Cuypers was invited to design a new one. Cuypers designed two versions. The first was for a towerless church with a presbytery and baptistry, the second for a for a church with a tower but no baptistry. Both plans included a presbitery. For financial reasons the towerless option was chosen.
On May the 12th of 1891 the first stone was laid. Overseer of the project was K.P.C. de Bazel, who later became a famous architect himself. Cuypers' son Jos Cuypers was responsible for many of the details of the design.
In the meantime several influencial catholics had started an action to collect the needed money that should make the construction of a tower possible. This turned out to be a great success. Early September 1892 the church was completed.
The finished church is an important specimen of Cuypers' later work. Several colours of brick were used in both the interior and the exterior. It's a remarkably big church, a part three-aisled, part five-aisled cruciform basilican church with a transept that far extends the width of the nave, which is covered by intricate wooden vaults. The 98 metres tall tower is crowned with a spire with turrets at the corners and is itself decorated by deep niches. Cuypers took inspiration from several Gothic styles. English influences are the triplet-windows of the clerestory and the 'climbing' series of five lancet-windows in the facades of the transept. The apse is in early French Gothic style.
The presbytery is in Cuypers usual combination of Gothic and Renaissance elements for such buildings and his profane designs, with a decorative use of wood.






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