Church attendance in the Netherlands has been steadily declining over the last few decades while energy and maintenance costs are rising. Many church organizations are thinning their inventory in order to better be able to take care of the churches which are left. Because of this, in the coming ten years, an average of two church buildings per week are expected to lose their function in the Netherlands. This is a total of almost 1400 churches (RCE, 2011). Many of these buildings are heritage sites or have emotional value to the parishioners or the people living in the neighborhood. Therefore, finding a new function for them is an important and enormous task, partly because of the sheer number of churches looking for new functions and partly because the spatial characteristics and emotional value places certain limits on which new functions can be fit into the building.
But while attendance of Christian churches is declining, other forms of spirituality are on the rise. Redeveloping the church as a spiritual center retains its social function for the neighborhood while revitalizing the space to meet future demands. The proposed program is for a yoga and meditation studio, in keeping with the changing face of spirituality. The design concept is for boxes within a box, using climate zones in order to retain characteristic look of the un-insulated outer skin. The building uses a spiral routing along the perimiter of the boxes to access the different studio spaces, with space for a restaurant on the ground floor. To increase the feasibility of the plan, it is designed to be built in phases, with each phase being an independent goal in itself.