The Legacy of Dom Hans van der Laan
Dom Hans Van der Laan was a Dutch Benedictine monk who became an architect and designer in the mid-20th century. Born in 1904 in the Netherlands, Van der Laan grew up in a family of architects and builders, which would later influence his career as an architect and designer.
Van der Laan eventually became a member of the Benedictine monastery in Vaals, in the south of the Netherlands. He began to incorporate his ideas about architecture and design into the monastery’s buildings. His work soon became influential in the Bossche School movement!
Van der Laan became interested in the architectural style known as the Bossche School. This movement uses of traditional materials and forms, as well as its emphasis on functionality and simplicity. He was particularly drawn to the work of architect Jan de Jong. De Jong was a leading figure in the Bossche School movement.
The Plastic Number
Van der Laan’s approach to architecture and design was based on a system of proportion and measurement. It is called the “plastic number.” He believed that this was an ideal proportion for creating harmonious and balanced designs while emphasizing functionality and simplicity.
This proportion can be applied to a wide range of design elements. From the overall shape of a building to the size of individual components like windows and doors. He saw it as a way to balance the competing demands of function and aesthetics. This allowed architects and designers to create structures that were both beautiful and functional.
In addition to the plastic number, van der Laan also developed a system of measurement called the “module,”. This is a standard unit of measurement based on the plastic number. The module allows architects and designers to create designs that are harmonious and proportional, regardless of their size or scale.
Van der Laan’s system of proportion and measurement was a practical tool for architects and designers. It was also a philosophical approach to design! He believed that by following a system , architects and designers could create buildings and spaces that were not only functional, but also beautiful and meaningful.
Today, the plastic number and the module are still used by architects and designers. Van der Laan’s work still inspires many! They are seen as a powerful tool for creating balanced designs. They are also a way to connect modern architecture with the traditional principles of proportion and harmony.
The Monastery in Vaals
Van der Laan’s influence on the Bossche School movement can be seen in his designs for the monastery in Vaals. His work was characterized by its emphasis on simplicity, functionality, and harmony. And of course the use of traditional materials and forms.
Despite his success as an architect and designer, van der Laan remained committed to his life as a monk. He continued to live and work in the monastery in Vaals until his death in 1991. He left behind a legacy of architectural and design excellence that continues to inspire and influence designers today!
The influence of Dom Hans van der Laan on the Bossche School movement was significant and enduring. His emphasis on harmony, proportion, and functionality, as well as his use of traditional materials and forms, helped to shape the movement and establish it as a distinctive and influential architectural style. Today, his work remains an inspiration to architects and designers around the world. His legacy continues to be felt in the buildings and structures that he helped to create.
Browse our collection of impressive and rare Dom Hans van der Laan pieces here!back to blog archive