Compact discs may be disappearing in favor of downloads, but it looks like books are here to stay. Since no-one has really found a hi-tech replacement for the paperback, booksellers may well have had a stay of execution. I've always loved browsing through bookstores, and if I lived in the Netherlands I'd move into this one, the Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht.
Built inside the 12th-century Domincanenkerk in the city center, it's the best kind of religious conversion. Modern technology meets ancient artistry. In its center are multiple layers of shelving on a huge steel structure, which offer great views of the church. There's even a coffee shop, located under newly-restored ceiling frescoes. Apparently, until this latest makeover, the Domincanenkerk used to be used as a bike shelter – so this is a considerable improvement in status.
Designed by Amsterdam architects Merkx and Girod, it won the Lensvelt de Architect Interior Prize 2007. There must be something in the air in Maastricht, which also boasts a stunning hotel converted from a monastery, the Kruisheren. RM
Images: Selexyz, Roos Aldershoff