book. Patron Arskerk The Hague

Stroeven begins with the story of van Eyck, a faithless architect who was commissioned to design a Catholic church in The Hague, while at the same time working on a Protestant church in Dribergen. Although the Protestant Church has received more attention, Struffin argues that the Hague Church has its own meaning and importance.

The book takes the reader on a fascinating walk through the building, using detailed descriptions and photographs to show innovations in design and emphasize a deep understanding of the changing Catholic world. Van Eyck combined modal innovations with the changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council, such as the use of vernacular language during Mass and the priest’s more direct involvement with churchgoers.

Although van Eyck drew inspiration from European church building, he also made important changes to traditional church design. The church has an enclosed volume with several elevations and an aisle called the “Via Sacra”, which does not lead to the altar, but runs alongside it, serving as a pathway from entry to exit of the former devotional sites. The play of light and lines of sight in the room invites contemplation.

Strauven also examines the evolution of the design on the basis of preliminary designs and specification drawings, and sheds light on the history of the building’s reception. Fortunately, despite the decline of the Catholic community in The Hague, the building can be preserved as a valuable heritage.

Pastor van Arskerk The Hague – A timeless sacred space designed by Aldo van Eyck, Frances Struffen, 2022. Published by ACP Brussels and the Van Eyck Foundation, Loenen aan de Vecht. ISBN 9789464664607 . More information about the May 28 book presentation can be found here here.

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