Heavenly Heights

Aldo Van Eyck //// 1964-1969 //// Pastor Van Ars Church, The Hague [NL] //// Which material (measurable?) aspects make a space sacred? Van Eyck proves that proportion and ‘the interior horizon’ do //// The tall space – neither narthex nor nave, but something of both – became an interior street with the divers sacred places strung along it. It’s verticality strongly contrasts with the crypt-like character of the sanctuary and the community rooms: low when seated during mass; tall when entering or leaving //// With Dom Hans Van Der Laan as his mentor, the presence of the Fibonacci numbers and the golden section in the compositional scheme of the plan should come as no surprise. ////

Aldo Van Eyck described his design attitude for this assignment as following: “Although neither Catholic nor anything else, I have over the years been familiar with innumerable churches and sacred places of all sorts; entering them, staying for a while, then leaving again (as an architect-tourist, for the sake of the architecture) whilst noticing with detachment what takes place there. lt is from this accumulated secular experience that l started (…) confident that specific paradoxes appertaining to the subject could still be translated into architecture. Far from wishing to secularize (i.e. neutralize or banalize) what for others is sacred, I have in both cases tried, as an outsider, to mitigate the hierarchy’s irreversibility; persuading it to become hence more reversible”