Roosenberg Abbey by Dom Hans van der Laan
Abdij Roosenberg - Dom Hans Van der Laan - titel

Roosenberg abbey

Dom Hans van der Laan

Waasmunster, Oudeheerweg-Heide 3

1975

Dom Hans Van Der Laan

During the exhibition about Dom Hans van der Laan at deSingel, the Roosenberg abbey could be visited. I could not miss an opportunity like that and last weekend we were guided around by a sister who had lived there for more than 35 years. Unique. My first contact with Benedictine architect van der Laan was during my first year bachelor architecture. On the way back from the annual trip to Maastricht we drove past the Vaals abbey. It is a design by him where he also spent a large part of his life and where he was buried. In the further training we have learned nothing more about him. Last year he suddenly came up with my encounter with Philippe Samyn. Van der Laan is a role models for Samyn and he could tell passionately about him.

Architect and monk

Van der Laan (1905 – 1991) was the son of an architect, his brothers Nico and Jan also did architecture school. He was raised strictly Catholic and Hans interrupted his studies to join the St Benedict Order. He further worked on an architecture theory based on a system of dimensional relationships that he called the plastic number. Van der Laan was looking for a unit derived from the structure itself. He found this among other things in the thickness of the wall. All other sizes had to be derived from this. If you want to know more about his life you can visit the website of the van der Laan foundation, with a handwritten biography that you download (only in Dutch).

Roosenberg Abbey

The current abbey is already the third location in Waasmunster. The first was founded in the 13th century, but it was destroyed by fire in the 15th century and a few times after by religious troubles. It was abolished during the French Revolution and the building was used as barracks. In 1797 it was finally demolished. A second Roosenberg abbey was established in 1831 and remained in use until the 1970s. Because of fewer vocations in the 1970s for the order of the Regular Canon of Saint Victor who lived according to the rule of Saint Augustine, there was a merged with the Maria Sisters of Francis and they continued working under this name. A new abbey was built outside the center of Waasmunster, in a quieter place, in 1975 by Hans van der Laan.

Plastic number

As stated above, van der Laan worked with ratios. In Roosenberg Abbey this was 1 / 7, the same ratio of the head to the entire human body. A further distinction is made at 3: 4. The wall thickness is 1 / 7th of the width of the corridor. The parking depth is 1 / 7th of the depth of the total building. The window was also placed in the wall at 3 / 4.

Gesamtkunstwerk

All furniture was designed by van der Laan, even the lighting. The sides of the cupboards are beveled, the back of the cupboard is narrower than the front. And this precisely 1 / 7th of the thickness of the side of the cabinet. According to the users not so handy … The tables and chairs were made of wooden planks and painted in colors that occur in nature around the abbey. The first ones were quite heavy and the sisters had asked for lighter seats. For example in the relaxation room.

KU Leuven

A few years ago the sisters left the abbey. There were only four sisters left, including some 90-year-olds. Various options were worked out to further exploit the abbey. Architecture students from London Metropolitan University, TU Delft and KU Leuven have also worked on this. There is currently an expo in the abbey about these designs. Almost a year ago, on December 18, 2016, KU Leuven also signed an agreement with the sisters to join the non-profit organization that owns the abbey. The university will use the building as a study and conference center around meaning, architecture and art. For example, KU Leuven wants to respect the spiritual character of the Roosenberg abbey and will also be responsible for the necessary restoration work.

Expo at de Singel

13/10/2017 – 14/01/2018

Wednesday – Sunday  14:00 – 19:00

€ 5,-

link to the exhibition about Dom Hans van der Laan

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Roosenberg Abbey

 

Dom Hans van der Laan

Waasmunster, Oudeheerweg-Heide 3

1975 

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