EBG church amsterdam, the netherlands
Wi Eegi Kerki
Church building for the Moravian Church Amsterdam South East
Wi Eegi Kerki (Surinamese for Our Own Church) is a beacon of light in this part of Amsterdam (Bijlmer), the poorest part in town. The yellow-white church emits light permanently. Inside however, the exact opposite happens. The sunlight - or if you prefer, the moonlight - enters the church through a huge hidden skylight. The reaction of one of the visitors: "It feels like a higher power watches over you."
Light and the colour white are of great importance in the liturgy of the Moravian Church, the originator of Wi Eegi Kerki. Both have therefore become the central elements of the building which - also in line with the liturgy - is simple in it’s composition. The entrance and the kitchen are the center of the church. To the left and right of the entrance are the meeting hall and the church hall. On the floor above the meeting hall are some flexible meeting rooms.
The place where the visitor ‘feels’ the liturgy the most is the church hall. Because the visitor has to enter the main assembly hall by walking underneath the balcony that hangs in the loft, he experiences the nine meter high space he eventually enters even larger than it actually is. Across the full width of the room is also a 13 meter high tower with a skylight. Through it, indirect sunlight falls on the white wall where the visitor looks at. Where this light actually comes from, remains a mystery to most visitors. During the service slowly some shadows draw on this immaculate white rear wall.
The appearance of Wi Eegi Kerki is sober and introvert. On the outside the church has a strong monolithic character. The mound on which the church is built, ads to this effect. The interior looks organized and clear. 550 simple white chairs are ready for the guests, ornaments and decorations are almost non-existent.
It took the parishioners 15 years to save enough money to start with their church project. In 2006 they approached 70F architecture. After a long design process, which was accompanied by intense consultation with the client, the design could be presented to the strict supervision committee of the district of Amsterdam Southeast early 2009. Supervisors Ton Schaap and Michael van Gessel were enthusiastic about the design and urban integration: "The Church is in its bold architectural plasticity and restrained use of materials an asset to this district."
photo's by luuk kramer