In 1977, the architect and monk Dom Hans van der Laan published his treatise Architectonic Space, Fifteen Lessons on the Disposition of the Human Habitat. This is a theory that seeks to capture the essence of spatial experience as a foundation for the design process.
Whilst he was writing his treatise, Van der Laan was building Roosenberg Abbey in Waasmunster. In this project, he intuitively worked with concepts such as ‘proximity’ and ‘superposition’ as spatial gestures for stillness and spirituality on the one hand, and intensity of encounter on the other.
Just as a musical composition is constructed on the basis of seven notes, so this building was designed on the basis of the number seven. The property is about 175 meters deep and the front square is about 25 meters wide, which is a ratio of 1 to 7. The width of the corridors is 1 to 7 of that of the front square and the width of the walls of the corridors is 1 to 7 of that of the corridors.’ When walking through the abbey one experiences this rhythm. The building instils respect and has its own special personality and feeling. Sober, yet warm