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Utrecht (U): St. Antonius van Padua (J.Th.J. Cuypers & J. Stuyt, 1902-1903)

Lombok was one of a few new neighbourhoods added to Utrecht at the end of the 19th century Utrecht, especially to house the large number of workers in the metal industry. It was only a matter of time before a catholic parish was founded. The St. Antonius van Padua church was only the second catholic church built outside the old center, but it was the first newly built catholic church in Utrecht, the very heart of Dutch catholicism, that was not built in neo-Gothic style in decades. Also, it was not oriented, even though circumstances allowed otherwise. As such, it ushered in a change in catholic architecture nationwide.

In ca. 1900 the architects Jos. Cuypers and Jan Stuyt were commissioned to design a fuctional and affordable church which could be enlarged when funds would be sufficient. Instead of the neo-Gothic style usual for that time, the architects came with a design in a neo-Romanesque style with Italian influences. For the two architects too this was a change from the usual, as all their previous churches had been neo-Gothic ones, although sometimes with few neo-Romanesque elements. Nominally, the church was designed by both architects in conjunction, but considering the neo-Romanesque style it is plausible that it was mostly the work of Italy-minded Jan Stuyt.

First a wide, aisleless cruciform church was built. Its facade was meant to be temporary and was therefore kept relatively simple, although an ornamented version was designed as well. A tower was added, but only built as high as the church itself. The choir originally was a short space, closed by a straight wall. In 1924 Stuyt completed the church by adding the semi-circular apse to the choir and by heightening the tower. was added. Especially these new parts are very recognizable as works of Stuyt, with his signature checkerboard tile-decorations. The tower was modelled after Italian campaniles. The nave was never extended and retained its simple facade; instead of enlarging the church in 1918 a second church was built elsewhere in the neighbourhood. This church was closed in 1977 and demolished in 1993.

The future of the Antonius is unclear. There have been plans to close it, as the Lombok neighbourhood these days is mostly inhabited by muslims. 






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