A small Mennonite church in the Dutch village of Elspeet is reflecting history and nature in its design.

‘It was inspired by the “hidden” churches of the past century,’ says Hugo de Clercq of FARO Architecten. At points in history, Mennonites were not allowed to gather to worship together in public; they then disguised their churches in barns or hid them in the woods, like the Elspeet church.

‘Our goal was to create a building that fits seamlessly into its surroundings,’ de Clercq explains.

In keeping with Mennonite tradition, the church has minimal ornamentation so that it won’t distract from worshipping. No two rafters are the same size, as they had to be carefully measured and adjusted to fit amongst the oddly-shaped roof and widened centre section.