Distilling Architecture 2 - Architectural Elaboration

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Distilling Architecture

“Every conception that a man can find is in the stone itself, already there concealed in excess, but will still require a hand to free it that obeys the mind.� Michelangelo (1475-1564)

John Schneijderberg 0580821





“If we compare the architecture of Western civilization to a museum, Japanese architecture [is like] a theater” – Toyo Ito “Man articulates the world through his body” – Tadao Ando The graduation-project, of which you now have the second and final report in front of you, has led to great, in advance unforeseeable, discoveries. From its earliest starting point onwards it seized and guided me in the direction of new architectural perspectives and philosophy; a profound cultural and aesthetical approach that incorporates a new and different set of variables and values that were previously unfamiliar to me, and with that, creating a new framework of architectonic qualities. The choice to take an existing building as the focal point of the graduation project and let it subsequently dictate the architectural perspective has led to a situation in which the rhizomatic essence and immanent qualities of a building, as unpretentious as a bunker, have impelled me to discover the tremendous wealth of culture and architecture that our world has (had) to offer. “The Shinto belief that the holy is present in natural objects and phenomena found symbolic expression not only in Shinto shrines, but also in Buddhist architecture as well. The pantheistic respect found powerful resonances in Zen Buddhism. Shinto architecture also expresses the transitory nature of life, its growth and decay. The periodic rebuilding of the sites at Ise Jingu, though principally derived from purification rites, powerfully symbolizes the impermanence of human works and, by implication, the constancy of the forces of the natural world.”1 1

Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, (Boston 1996), pp. 84


“I like to see how far architecture can pursue function and then after the pursuit has been made, see how far architecture can be removed from function. The significance of architecture is found in the distance between it and function.”2 Dependent on the message we wish to convey, we adopt the words and language that best signifies the meaning and feeling of what one tries to bring across. Language is the container of meaning, and so, depending on what a culture or people considers to be of importance; words, terms, sentences and expressions are shaped so to best contain what one is trying to say. This phenomena is not limited to written and spoken word, it is a behavior that moreover echoes in what we do, how we act, how we design and what we build. Through the continuous exposure to ever-changing contextual parameters in terms of time, politics, economy, philosophy and culture in general, the language and actions we deem appropriate are in a constant state of evolution as well. In this way, the passage of time ensures a consistent refinement of our written, spoken and acted vocabulary. In most of the general situations the native vocabulary suffices to express what one tries to do or say. But once ideas and intentions come to contain a value or meaning outside of the customary lexis, one might need to adopt ‘exotic’ syntaxes that do adequately embody the message or feeling one tries to convey. In dealing with the architectural qualitative determined approach of the ‘Distilling Architecture’ project this resulted in the adoption of Asian (often more specifically Japanese) perspectives. The reason for this is the fact that these cultures are immanently related to themes as austerity, obscurity, transience and nature as well as specific conceptions of space, which in its turn causes their vocabulary to be rich in descriptive terms and actions imbued with related values and meanings. In retrospect it is clear that the architectural approach towards the building has guided the


Kenneth Frampton, Tadao Ando: Buildings Projects Writings, (New York 1984) pp 8


scope of the project into a specific appurtenant realm of architectural conception. “If you get to know the [Distilling Architecture] project, a different way of looking at, and working with, the building is basically unthinkable”3 Under general circumstances we are able to apply our native (architectural) language and vocabulary but in some cases - situations in which you want to work with utter respect and the best means possible - it becomes a necessity to adapt to the context of the assignment set by the project. Exemplary is the fact that Eskimo’s have 22 different words for depicting snow, which all vary slightly in meaning but all in total encompass the complete array of possible implications. ‘Literal wealth’ as such enables one to work with a far more comprehensive instrumentarium when dealing with a subject that is embedded in the related context. Linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf developed his theory of ‘linguistic relativity’ on this topic; the language and vocabulary that is at one’s disposal will, to significant extent, determine the perception and experience of the individual. Within the framework of this graduation-project this led to the adoption of the Japanese cultural-architectonic lexicon. This was accompanied by the affiliation of the adequate framework of values and conceptions like that of the shintai, ma, and yugen.


Teamaster Michel Decré in a reflective comment on the philosophical reasoning and architectonic propositions concerning this graduation project that revaluates the Diogenes bunker.










Diogenes: -



Veluwe Fliegerhorst Deelen Network of buildings ‘Nachtjagd’: the rise of radar

P016 P018 P020 P022

Zentralgefechtstand Struktur Post War Identity Diogenes from Sinope Analysis conclusion: employing hidden qualities Answering the research question

P026 P030 P042 P049 P052 P054 P057

Religion & spirituality in the modern world Hurry! Attention & concentration on the present Mindfulness and meditation Retraite in Vaals

P062 P066 P067 P074 P081


_ Distilling Architecture:







Vision Method Identity: (arche)type, function & use Diogenes 2.0 Approach Bell bunker Entrance Ablution Acclimatisation Heart of the bunker Kutei (Karesansui/Sukkot) Basement/Catacombs Returning Nature pavilions

P087 P088 P089 P096 P112 P118 P120 P125 P129 P135 P142 P156 P164 P166

Conceptions of space Emptiness Ma & Kaiwai

P168 P170 P172

Meaning to life The sound of use Cross-religious examples

P182 P186 P190


Index Meaning:

_ -

Authenticity Value Use Body without organs Territorialisation Natural & Spiritual seasons Sacred spaces in profane buildings Ethereal use of a rigid structure


P200 P201 P206 P208 P210 P214 P218 P223 P228


- Gratitude


Appendix A

- Diamond-wire cutting system




Photographic acknowledgements




Preface _


“Architecture is a social act and the material theater of human activity” – Spiro Kostof This second booklet is the follow-up - or moreover the continuation - of the preceding preliminary research on ‘Distilling Architecture’. The previous report mainly focused on the themes that surrounded, and altogether shaped, the approach of this project and eventually established its substantial theoretical base and framework. After following the directions that naturally emerged, this booklet now contains the outcomes of the route taken, guided by the project itself. This project-based instead of architect-centered guidance is what deserves a first remark. It is this crucial point, immanent to the architectonic approach, that opened my eyes to worlds of totally different architectural and cultural values. Placing an existing building at the locus of this graduation project led to discoveries far astray, and while on first sight they seemingly lack any connection to this focal point, the totality of the project eventually grounds the existing building and its new use in its time and place most thoroughly, ever since it was initially abandoned by its founders. This building is Diogenes; a bunker erected by the Nazi’s in 1943 thanking its codename to its strategic position near ‘Fliegerhorst Deelen’. Even though it was never a target of an RAF-airstrike (who knew of its existence) it was not just any bunker; it housed the key nerve centre of the German military air command. It has been over 60 years since WWII and Diogenes has served several other purposes in the aftermath. Today, it still lays silently, patiently waiting to once again play a special role in a changed society, while the building is slowly being cultivated by the forest that has matured over time.


The chapters to follow will elaborate on the architectural vision that foresees such a meaningful future for the building. A logical first step to begin with in such an undertaking is to start off with a concise description of its historical and physical context, so those topics are subject of the first chapters. They describe the historical evolvement of a unique landscape as well as the role that the area around Deelen played during the Second World War. Thereafter is an analysis of the building and its (latent) architectural qualities in order to get a complete picture of Diogenes’ identity which consists of physical, psychological, architectural and cultural-historical constituents. The holistic analysis of both building and context then leads to the formulation of a combined potential for a synthetic new future use, that profits from the unveiled qualities, and how this can be beneficial in a modern society. In line with the evaluation of the building’s architectural qualities - that for the utmost part already existed onsite in total paralysis - a new approach was adopted that made use of an architectural language that was in better accordance to the themes that were dealt with. This way of seeing corresponded to, and became embedded in, the Japanese aesthetics and their conception of value. Exemplary of this shifted perspective is the description of space. This alternative way of defining meaning strikingly shows the discrepancy between the perspective of this project and what is generally taught at western universities. Finally this will lead to the elucidation on the importance of the envisioned new use; how attentive rituals can be beneficial both to the persons that are involved, as to the location where they are performed in the act of ‘territorialization’. This theme also shed a different insight on the meaning of time in architecture.



Morning mist at National Park ‘de Hoge Veluwe’ 14

Drift-sand plains at National Park ‘De Hoge Veluwe’


Deelen Veluwe The area of Deelen is embedded in the oldest natural territory of the Netherlands. This region that is perhaps most well known as National Park ‘De Hoge Veluwe’ measures 5.500 hectare and is as extensive and beautiful as it is versatile. The diversity of the landscape is the result of a complex history of natural processes and successive eras of droughts and extremely fluctuating temperatures. This all started about two and a half million years ago when a number of rivers coming in from the east created a delta-region in what is now considered to be the Veluwe. The area was still completely flat at the time and enormous amounts of fine grained quartz-sand were put off around the riverbanks, forming new dense stratums on the surface. More than a million years later a different, gravel-like sand which also contained rock fragments was added on top of this fine layer in a similar way. The delta comprised of a number of rivers that continually shifted their courses and slowly transformed into two rivers that we still know today; the Rhine and the Maas. These rivers added the penultimate layer of sand which was of a more coarse type. During this timespan there were other things happening that also played a very important role in the shaping of the Veluwe landscape we know today; the (inter)glacial periods. The most important one (‘Saalien’) carried glacial ice from Scandinavia halfway into the Netherlands. Traveling at only a few meters per year the tremendous forces of the icecap - which would have been at least 225 meters thick - stowed up series of mounds as fluctuating temperatures caused the glacial front to retract and expand numerous times. The resulting moraines are still clearly visible today and lend the area its generously sloping landscape. In stark contrast to this ice age there followed a period which gradually became warmer and warmer and caused the enormous amount of ice to melt, raising the sea level approximately 80 meters and flooding the northwest of Holland in the process. When this 16

Network scheme of ‘Fliegerhorst Deelen’


warm period ended some 70.000 years ago it became colder again which resulted in the desiccation of the flooded areas and moreover the North Sea. Eventually northern winds that passed over the dry seabed carried with it the sand that formed the thick and most recent layer of the stratified soil. Under the influence of wind this top surface of loose sand shaped sand ridges - and still does so today - at the locations of former riverbeds and moraines, while their lower edges are transformed into swamps due to the rising groundwater level. As a result of the Veluwe’s ground versatility there is also a great diversity in flora and fauna. A great deal of different trees, shrubs and plants are to be found on site as well as much ‘wildlife’ which is exclusive to the National Park within the Netherlands. The exceptional and versatile combination of all of the above-mentioned factors has created an equally diverse and sumptuous landscape consisting of small lakes and natural lagoons, swamps, quags, forests of varying ages, densities and sizes, panoramic moorlands, vast slopes of drift sand, bare widespread plains and hills overgrown with seemingly infinite types of shrubs, plants and flowers. Fliegerhorst Deelen Within this rich natural setting the area around Deelen is not originally known for its wealth of cultural-historical objects. Because of the infertile lands the people led marginal lives and could not afford any of such amenities. In line with this frugal situation the remote landscape underwent only small alterations for long periods of time. At the end of the 19th century some rural estates were erected, after which National Park ‘de Hoge Veluwe’ was founded, followed by the construction of military training grounds and even a small airstrip. At the beginning of the 20th century aviation started to take shape and also around Arnhem there was a growing enthusiasm among local flight fanatics to assign a location in the close-by open nature as a fixed location for planes. In the beginning the local government 18

saw no need to give heed to this request and by the time they eventually did yield to the persistent inquiry the Second World War broke out. Man attempted to plow the patch of land on Veluwe territory that was designated to become an airstrip for amateur aviation in order to prevent it from being used for hostile military purposes; “On the May 10th 1940 the terrain was hastily ploughed to make it unsuitable for German aircrafts, but it was overrun by German infantry that very same day.”4 From the very start of the Second World War the Dutch territory took a strategic position in the offensive tactics of the Germans. The country was supposed to serve as ‘Vorfeld’ and because of that the existing infrastructure had to be adapted drastically. This also applied to airports and so the partly unploughed patch of land near Kemperheide was assigned with an important task in the defense of the ‘German airspace’. Immediately following the capitulation the occupier started appropriating and expanding the aircraft facilities in and around Arnhem. All possible means were employed to upgrade the small, pre-existing, airstrip into ‘Fliegerhorst Deelen’, which would eventually measure an astonishing 2000 hectares. Thousands of Dutch workmen would be deployed for its construction and as the Nazis were convinced they could only rely on their own knowledge, the structural plans and schemes had to be imported from Germany. Likewise this was true for the construction of bunkers (like Diogenes) as well.


Dick Veerman, Vliegveld Deelen, van last tot lust?, Arnhem (2004) pp.40 [translation] – original text: “10 mei 1940 werd het terrein nog haastig omgeploegd om het ongeschikt te maken voor Duitse vliegtuigen maar nog dezelfde dag werd het al overlopen door Duitse infanteristen.”


Network of buildings In the landscape near the miniscule village of Deelen a particularly big structure resembling the appearance of a giant A - when seen from the air - began to take shape right after the capitulation. This soon came to be known as the lay-out of German airstrips characteristic to Fliegerhorst Deelen. Surrounding it, a vast network of secondary runways and roads for supplies were established at an incredible rate as well as the accompanying hangars, workshops and affiliated military installations; 900 objects in its eventual totality. All of these structures were executed as ‘wehrertütigend’; improving the military (air) defense. According to Oberst Zieseniss, building inspector of the German ground forces, the strong spirit of the Nazi army had to be reflected in, and expressed by, the architecture of military structures what eventually meant that they were built in National-Socialist style.5 At ‘Fliegerhorsten’ however the monumental elements of style had to be omitted, causing them to be constructed in a traditional style. This line of thought was moreover consistent with the concept of camouflage they applied to the hangars in the area; as if hiding in clear sight, the buildings were built in such a way that they appeared to be mere local farms that formed some old and small settlements in between the trees. But actually the buildings altogether constituted an extensive network of military complexes. The brick walls were replaced by concrete slabs with an average thickness of 50 cm and the supposedly wooden shutters had in reality been substituted by steel plates, several centimeters thick and falsely decorated with the traditional hourglass motif. In addition the wooden attic floors had to make way for massive concrete plates and wall openings were designed in such a way that they prevented intrusion of grenades and other projectiles. ‘Heimatschutz’ was the German term for the collection of these defensive measures. And this approach was not


Dick Veerman, Vliegveld Deelen, van last tot lust?, Arnhem (2004) pp.40


limited to the buildings as the airfield runways were camouflaged as well and new roads were created out of clinkers so to appear as existing roads. A fact that should be acknowledged is that the German architects of the time were remarkably crafty in mimicking the local traditional architecture. The numerous buildings harmoniously blended in with the surroundings because the designers ably made use of local building materials like the typical auburn bricks and roofing tiles. Furthermore they cleverly knew how to employ the diverse variety of traditional roof typologies like gable-, hip-, and half-hipped roofs6 Already after only half a year of building the dimension of the new construction works began to make clear how big the German ambition was to erect an airport of quite a stature near Deelen; two of the eventual three runways were completed and in the direct periphery four military complexes were built up. Located in the east was the so called ‘Head of Deelen’ where a lot of the materiel was stationed while to the south they were finishing the construction of ‘Gross und Klein Heidelager’ (large- and small heath camp), a primary location where most of the commanders resided. In the west man was building ‘Divisionsdorf’; the place where most of the personnel was mainly stationed. In order to assure a constant supply of building materials for the buildings to be constructed and subsequently providing these new locations with the necessary supplies, the Germans established special railways which they often shunt from train-infrastructure that already existed in the vicinity. Again it was the importance that the occupier assigned to the new military airport at Deelen that gave it a luxury position; the ‘Gelderse Tramweg Maatschappij’ (the local public transport company) was commissioned to provide for the transport of personnel between the nearby city of Arnhem and the military grounds that lay scattered in the surroundings. 6

G.B. Janssen, Van bolwerk tot bunker: militaire complexen in Arnhem, Meppel (2000)


‘Nachtjagd’: the rise of radar The period in which the Nazi’s began with the organization of ‘Fliegerhorst Deelen’ was characterized by large-scale Allied bombings of the Ruhr area, Germany’s industrial heart. This made it a utter necessity for the Germans to devise renewed strategies for defending the national airspace as the continuous raids painfully exposed the deficiencies of the immobile anti-aircraft flak stations in warding off nocturnal intruders. This made that the Nazi’s began searching for a more effective system to fight the enemy. Eventually they found the solution in the form of ‘nachtjagd’; intercepting allied bombers with night fighters that were guided by a comprehensive network of radar- and so called sentinel Y-stations. It was again Deelen that would take a crucial position in this air defense machine, as it was in fact an extensive system which would eventually stretch from Denmark all to way to the middle of France. After all, it was ‘Fliegerhorst Deelen’ that was physically located at the very heart of this defensive line - which could be conceived of as the air targeting equivalent of the Atlantikwall - directly underneath the flight path of invading English bombers. Already since 1917 had the Germans been experimenting with these ‘Nachtjagd’ tactics but the actual implementation of radar was extraordinary revolutionary for that time. Around that time man was still used to conceive of war strategies while bent over large war table maps shuffling wooden figures back and forth. It was on December 18th, 1939 that the use of the innovative radar lead to a disastrous catastrophe for the Allies as the RAF lost almost half of its air fleet during their bombing of Wilhelmshaven during daytime. From that moment onwards, the Allies decided to only execute air raids covered by the darkness of nighttime.


Scheme of the ‘Kammhuberlinie’ 23

This revision of tactics had as a consequence that the Germans put even more effort in the development of their radar system. In 1940 on the 17th of July, the ‘1. Nachtjagddivision’ was founded with ‘Oberst’ Josef Kammhuber at its head as commanding officer. Under his leadership, the air defense line advanced at an amazing pace to a point in 1942 at which Kammhuber had the command over the entire ‘Nachtjagd’ in Western Europe. By then, a vast network of sentinel Y-stations, radars, searchlights, airfields and command centers had arisen, spreading from Denmark over Northern Germany and Holland all the way through to Belgium and the middle of France. This concatenation of air defense facilities was eventually named after its leader; ‘Kammhuber-Linie’. In January 1942, the commander-in-chief posted himself in Deelen - the very center of his ‘Linie’ - where he and his staff moved to the terrains of ‘Koningsheide’.7 In order to effectively experiment with the new Nachtjagd-tactics and techniques the Germans took into operation a test air command center near Deelen. This took place in January 1942 when they had finished construction on a sort of mock-up bunker, built on the occupied grounds of sanatorium ‘Koningsheide’. This prototype, constructed out of mere brick, figured as the predecessor to what would later eventually become the nerve air command center of the ‘Kammhuber-Linie’ carrying the codename ‘Diogenes’. Of all the bunkers that had the task of coordinating the defense of German airspace, this one would grow to become the absolute headquarters.


René Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) pp. 22


Sketch from ‘Signal’ propaganda magazine depicting the hectic situation in Diogenes’ ‘Grossraum’ 25

Diogenes “The combat designated here is an originating one, for this combat brings forth combatants as such, not simply the assault given to a subsequent thing. Combat is that which first of all draws up and develops het unheard of, up to the unsaid and unthought. The combat is then underpinned by those who strive: pets, thinkers, statesmen. When the combat ceases, that which is does not disappear, but the world turns away.” – Martin Heidegger Zentralgefechtstand ‘Diogenes’, a codename starting with the letter ‘D’ because of its positioning near what was now Deelen’s military airport was originally denominated as ‘Zentralgefechtstand’. It was of such importance that the immense bunker was to be built correctly that the previously discussed brick prototype was built across the road at the other side of the ‘Koningsweg’. The design of the bunker came from the Luftwaffe and was based on a standardized type of a German system – the so called ‘Regelbauten’. Even though some adaptations were made to the design of the bunker it did not fall into the category of ‘Sonderbauten’8, which basically comprised the one-of-a-kind type bunkers that had to be specially designed for unique settings. There existed a gradation that would indicate the strength of bunkers which ran from the lowest category of ‘felmässig ausgebaut’ – lighter variants with walls of only half a meter thick - to the highest class of ‘ständig’, with wall thicknesses of over 2 meters. Diogenes was not the first bunker to be constructed in accordance to the standardized design as there were already a number of identical bunkers built, some of which still exist this very day. In Denmark the Nazi’s realized the ‘Gyges’ bunker, named after its location 8

René Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) pp. 37


Diogenes seen from the southwest with the later added bunker that houses the former ceremonial entrance with monumental staircase.


Diogenes seen from the north-west. Clearly visible are the ‘zerschellerplatten’ that prevented bombs from penetrating underneath the bunker. Furthermore the façade shows the barred openings from the air-inlets and gas-outlet, while the concrete walls are slowly by steadily re-cultivated by natural moss and ivy.


Cover from propaganda magazine ‘Signal’ depicting Diogenes’ Blitzmädel 29

near the village of Gedhus, which is still in use by the Danish army today. In Germany there were equivalents that went by the names of ‘Minotaurus’ built near München and ‘Sokrates’ near Stade; all of them had codenames starting with the same initial as the important (military) location located in the vicinity. Whether it is a coincidence that all of these euphemisms originated in (mythical) antiquity no one knows. In 1948, the Allies commissioned the bunker near Stade to be dismantled and it was not until 1957 that the Germans finished cleaning up the rubble that resulted from this. An important aspect of the bunkers’ design was that the recesses and apertures for ducts and shafts were thought of in advance so that provisions could be integrated in the formwork of the concrete to be poured. This was necessary as at that time there were no adequate techniques for the afterwards creation of openings in concrete walls with thicknesses that ranged up to 3,5 meters. Struktur The central element and most important aspect of the design was the so called ‘Einsatzkarte’ or ‘Hauptlagekarte’; an enormous map, made of frosted glass, depicting the northwest of Europe. The giant map was positioned in the central command room, or ‘Grossraum’, what was generally seen as the heart of the bunker. With its sheer size of approximately 200 m² and spanning the complete width and height, it divided the central room (measuring 30x12x15m) in two. On this translucent pane of glass the locations of hostile and friendly planes were marked with colored lights, projected by small directional spotlights - which can be imagined to be a sort of primitive forerunners of modern laser lights – that were maneuvered by so called ‘Luftnachrichten helferinnen’. Otherwise known as ‘Blitzmädel’ these German women in service of the Luftwaffe sat on the higher parts of


Commanders planning strategies ‘real-time’


Tribune with Luftnachrichtenhelferinnen, or Blitzm채del


the tribunes that were placed on each side of the large map that divided the central command room. Via their headphones they received coordinates coming from the radar stations which they then projected onto the large central map by means of the directed lights that were fixed to their small desk. On the one side of the map, the ‘Blitzmädel’ received and projected the coordinates of friendly aircrafts with a green light while on the other side they did the same for hostile planes, but this time with a red light. On the lower sections of the tribunes, straight at the foot of the glass map, sat the air commanders and strategists who could read from the map the current status of the airspace above Western Europe. This elaborate system enabled them to adjust or develop new tactics and strategies in ‘real time’ from behind their desks in the heart of the bunker. This is why Diogenes can be conceived of as ‘a building as a system’, and the purely functional conception of the building translates to a similar typical floor plan and layout, or ‘Struktur’. Organized around the central command room were the primary supporting functions of which the rooms stood in direct relation to different levels of the auditorium-like arranged central space. One example of the functionality of these surrounding rooms for instance, was the collection and interpretation of the raw data that was received from the radar stations, in order to be processed by the ‘Blitzmädel’. Around this core of functions ran a corridor and as it was only on the northern side of the central command room where there were no auxiliary functions planned, this was the only direction from where one was able to directly access it from the enclosing hallway without having to pass through another room. To the northern and western sides of the perambulating corridor the architects positioned the indirectly supporting functions. These were predominately servant spaces (to speak in Kahn’s terms) mainly containing sanitary facilities and such.


As previously stated, ‘Diogenes II’ was eventually built with additional facilities that cannot be traced back to the original and standardized design. The foremost modification results from the Nazis’ decision to expand the complex with an annex wing that was to contain offices for the air commanders. This part of the building was located outside of the main bunker that was totally enclosed by massive walls of concrete with a thickness of 3,5 meters. This less heavily protected ‘add-on’ was the only part of the bunker where air and daylight were able to penetrate the concrete shell of the bunker and make it a bit more hospitable. The divergence of the ‘Regelbauten’ system caused a necessary modification of the standard bunker layout that was originally strictly rectangular for reasons of optimal strength and defense. The south-east corner of the main bunker was adapted to house the main staircase that had to minister the office wing. The 3,5 m thick wall that separated this additional part of the building from the main bunker was fitted with gas locks so that it could be hermetically sealed and shut off from the offices and outside world in case of a gas attack. In addition to this important feature, the bunker was moreover equipped with its own emergency power supply. This was assured by means of an internal diesel engine, for which the bunker’s design was fitted with special shafts that provided the necessary air for combustion and subsequent transport of the effluent gasses. The bunker was also fashioned with a room for the filtration of air when needed in case of attacks and a system that ensured the supply of (warm) water. In total, all of these facilities together, created a building that could completely function in itself, shut off from any outside source, as a true autark. The last anomaly to the original design was the addition of the ceremonial staircase to the south side of the main bunker. It was supposed to serve as a grand entrance for when high-ranking dignitaries or maybe even ‘der führer’ himself would visit the bunker. However, it is said that the ceremonial staircase has only been used once for such an occasion, 34

Present condition of the emergency generator in Diogenes’ basement


which was during an alleged visit by ‘SS Reichsführer’ Heinrich Himmler. Shortly after this, it changed from being a grand entrance to a mere emergency exit. When the bunker was in full use it had to be able to accommodate about 400 people simultaneously. Because of their large numbers the personnel was separately stationed and distributed over a number of barracks that lay in the vicinity. A peculiar aspect that might remain permanently mysterious is the fact that the precise operation and use of the building is unknown. The biggest portion of the rooms that the bunker’s ‘strukur’ contains is still a puzzle this very day to what their exact utilization might have been. Nobody seems to have possession of the documents that contain the answers to such questions. While we are able to define the exact use and history of ruins dating from B.C. we appear painfully incompetent in uncovering the story of this bunker that is just over 50 years old. The fact that the 3,5m thick concrete shell does not permit any light or air to enter, reflects the obscure character of the building surprisingly well for that matter.


Main bunker



Annex wing - offices

Later addition - ceremonial entry staircase


Internal organization

Complete Standardized layout


Daylight penetration

Unknown functions


Old newspaper article on the unfortunate explosion 41

Post War Right after the war, large parts of Holland, as well as the area around Deelen and Diogenes, were still scattered with bombs and other projectiles as silent remnants from the war that had recently ended. In order to get rid of these potential hazards the government founded a special service group – somewhat like the former equivalent of the present bomb squad – which was known as the ‘Hulpverleningsdienst’ (HVD). Holland was divided into 4 service districts and Diogenes was appointed as the main base station for the area that covered the northeast of Brabant and northern Limburg. The main objective of the HVD was to collect the remaining WW II explosives from the area and bring them to Diogenes to either disarm them or to detonate them in a controlled manner. Some months prior, when the original occupants had to abandon Diogenes on September 10th 1944, the fleeing Nazi’s attempted to destroy any delicate information and technology by setting off 10 heavy ‘Brisant’ bombs (weighing up to 1000kg each), demolishing big parts of the interior in doing so. The bunker itself however remained nearly undamaged. This gave the HVD the – maybe somewhat controversial – idea to use the bunker itself as a place for the controlled detonation of the remaining bombs they found in the area. At first it was only the central space that was used for this purpose but pretty soon they started using the bigger rooms that surrounded it as well. This resulted in a situation where the entire building came to be filled with rubble and debris from the explosions. The activities of the HVD at Diogenes came to an abrupt end when during the sunny noon of June 8th 1948 five servicemen attempted to disarm a 2000kg (!) heavy ‘air mine’ in the cool shade of the bunker. That afternoon a tremendous shockwave scattered the windows of buildings miles away while people working inside the bunker were pressed down to the ground by it.


HVD at Diogenes


When they ran outside to see what happened, the 5 colleagues that were working outside were literally effaced from the surface of the earth. What most likely happened is that a second detonator caused the air mine, nicknamed ‘Cookie’, to explode despite the attempt to disarm it. This came to be the biggest accident in the existence of the HVD which was abrogated in 1973. It may be noted that the HVD did more damage to Diogenes with their controlled detonations than the Germans did when they attempted to blow up their own building when they abandoned it. After the liberation, on April 15th 1945, the bunker was accessible by anyone who had a strong enough interest to literally risk their live to explore the monstrous building and uncover the mysteries that lie in its obscure interior. Old newspaper articles, dating from right after the war, showcase the astonishment of those who first marveled at the enormous bunker. According to their stories, the building would accommodated over 4000 men, in hundreds and hundreds of rooms, half of which were supposedly built underground in a labyrinthine structure; this unintended exaggeration shows just how impressive Diogenes was, and still is. On the 5th of June 1947, the ministry of Education, Art and Science initiated a research on “the appropriateness of the bunker in Schaarsbergen for the purpose of storing the state archives.” A responsive letter from September 9th stated that even though some parts of the building were considerably damaged and filled with debris, there was potential room for over 25km of filing shelves. It was however also mentioned, that there would be significant costs involved in preparing the bunker for this purpose. The total costs were an estimated f100.000,- This did not keep the government from pursuing their desire and so Diogenes became a depot for the national archives.


Destroyed interior of the ‘Grossraum’ 45

Central space filled in with steel construction in order to create extra floorspace for storing archives


Typical corridor in the bunker’s present role as national archive 47

Now that a decision had been made on what to do with the bunker man started cleaning out its internal spaces. As many of the rooms in the heart of the bunker were directly connected to the central space, that used to be the main command room, it was convenient to use this as an enormous dumpster to get rid of all rubble that remained after the numerous internal detonations. This resulted in a situation where gradually most of the rooms were cleared from debris while the central space, on the contrary, came to be filled to the brim. Official reports tell us that the rubble and debris reached all the way to the top floor. After the bunker was more or less cleared from rubble the bunker now slowly but surely started to fill up with a tremendous variety of records and objects that needed to be preserved. At first it were just the bigger rooms that were utilized for this purpose but very soon the hallways started to fill op with archives and eventually it led to a situation in which even the toilets are now in use as storage rooms. In order to have someone watch over the valuable archives, some of the rooms in the later added office wing were appropriated for a concierge to live in. This posterior adaptation is still visible this very day by the wooden paneling in the first few offices on the south side of the annex wing. Present day, the concrete mastodon seems to fulfill a function similar to Noah’s Ark, only in this situation it safeguards Dutch (historical) culture. It serves as an auxiliary depot that holds valuable pieces of the National Historic Museum and the Dutch Open Air Museum. It also contains over 26 kilometers of wooden filing shelves, that dominate its long corridors and spaces, that encompass among others the archives of the Ministry of Justice (3 km), various hospitals (13 km), NUON energy company (1 km) and a few hundred meters of Civil Archeological Soil Research.


Identity “Form encourages functions that were not intended by the user or by the thing itself” – Jacob Voorthuis

The bunker in Schaarsbergen cannot be typified as an unambiguous building. Its meaning and importance is, and has been, multilateral. The building is not just the auxiliary depot it is today, or the bunker it was some sixty years ago. Moreover it is not just a physical complex, it is a unique specimen of military architecture, a historical artifact, social relic, dissonant monument, and particularly interesting in the context of this project; a contextual structure bursting with potential. At least, to those who are willing – and able - to see it. Of course it is probably valid to state that the most general conception of the building will be that of a bunker. It has been created with that particular function in mind and so its typology and main characteristics are related to it. However, this same set of idiosyncrasies have proven to be appropriate to accommodate a number of other uses as well. As previously stated, the bunker has been a place for demolition, a dwelling, an archive and depot. What we moreover tend to forget is that in between these episodes the building has lain obsolete, becoming apparent as a (modern) ruin. The undeniable entropic process of decay (or natural cultivation) is another aspect we should consider to be part of Diogenes’ accumulative identity. This seems to show that architectural identity is not something to be considered as being purely inscribed into the fabric or physical substance of the building but moreover into the broader meaning it may have over the total span of its lifetime. And meaning in its turn, is


not something to be thought of as an immanent property of the building itself, but as a quality that lies in the relation between man and building.9 The bunker is to be considered as being a work of architecture even though it might not have been designed with any deliberate architectural aspiration, if anything it was even meant to be rendered invisible through camouflage netting. It has become clear that at its existential basis lay purely functional motives. This is in stark contrast to other military objects, for instance the submarine or ‘Todt-linie’ bunkers, who were also meant to function as psychological deterrents by means of their sheer size and appearance. The consequences of this inference should be kept in mind when approaching the structure from an architectural point of view that aims to value the building in a spectrum that is much wider than that of pure pragmatics.


This concept is elucidated in the chapter on ‘meaning’


Alexander meeting Diogenes in Corinth 51

Diogenes from Sinope When thinking about the building and its identity, an interesting anecdotic connection can be made to a modern historical figure, which moreover seems strikingly applicable. The codename Diogenes (most likely coincidentally) stems from an ancient philosopher which resonates the building’s identity in a striking way, both in the way of its originally intended performance and in the envisioned new use and meaning. Intended to function as an autark (and meant to be imperturbable by the outside world), in the future soberly looking for ‘thruth’ in an openly harmonic environment. Diogenes of Sinope was a controversial Greek philosopher (412 – 323 BCE) and being one of the founders of cynic philosophy, he employed his own lifestyle and manners to express his critiques on what he considered to be a corrupt society. Exemplary of his ethics is the time when he was visited by Alexander the Great, who travelled a great distance, for he admired Diogenes and was thrilled to meet him. It was a sunny day in Corinth when he finally found the famous philosopher - who lay on the ground enjoying the morning sun – and asked him what it was he desired. Alexander was willing to grant him any favor and give him anything he could possibly wish for, to which the cynic answered: “If I can get anything I want, then step aside, you’re blocking my sun”. In response to this unexpected request Alexander said: “If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes”10 to which the philosopher then replied: “If I were not Diogenes, then I too should wish to be Diogenes”. In that era, Alexander’s conquests were a direct cause of a xenogamy between Greek philosophy and Buddhism. As Alexander conquered great parts of India, the Greek colonists became the first Buddhists converts who aided in the spread and flourishing of 10

Laërtius & Hicks, VI:32; Plutarch, Alexander, 14, On Exile, (1925) pp. 15


the faith. In turn, returning Greeks from the Indian sub-continent brought with them elements of Buddhist thought, sowing the seeds for an expansion of philosophy in Greece. Both Diogenes (belonging to the school of cynics) and Buddha plea that a negation of all views is a necessity in order to gain insight into the true nature of things and whoever who acquires that perfect knowledge is on the way to attainment of transcendental intelligence. Paradoxically however, they both encourage academic study and philosophical discourse which may not be truth in themselves, but merely means through which the truth may be realized. According to this they both favored living their philosophy instead of writing it down. In doing so, both of them favored an ascetic life in which they lived according to nature. Asceticism, frugality and self-sufficiency were considered great values that Diogenes strived to continuously exemplify; he famously took a tub for his home on the street of Athens, with nothing more than a robe and a cup as his personal belongings. At a certain moment he disposed himself from the cup to drank and eat out of his hands. Just like the Greeks and Buddhists, other world’s major religions and philosophies have a lot in common, of which maybe the most important one is how they each treasure modesty and sensitive relations with nature. At first, this information might appear as nothing more than an historical anecdote, but later on in the project it turned out to have an interesting resemblance to the eventual mindset behind the project. This will become apparent as one reads through this thesis.


Analysis conclusion: employing hidden qualities In architecture, I have noticed that – at least personally – there often arises a unified interactive dichotomy between what I tend to describe as the ‘hardware’ side of architecture, and its ‘software’ side. The hardware can be conceived of as the physically tangible body of an object, space, building or place; its materials, size, color and shape. The software on the other hand can be understood as the immaterial dimension of architecture. This might be the historical impact of a place or the emotional effect its presence has on the perceiving subject, but it in anyway influences the psychological experience. In this conception, the dichotomy does not entail a strict division or considers the parts to be separate worlds or aspects of architecture. Instead they are united constituents in everyday existence and heavily intertwined in every corporeal experience. There is often a fine, or rather transitive, line between the physical extant body (hardware) and the intangibility of the experience it promotes (software). Take natural light for instance; does this belong to the hardware or software side of architecture. My idea would be that such elements find themselves in the transition between the two, or rather in their reciprocity. However we can control how much light may enter the spaces we create, we are not its master. To put it differently, we can determine the size of wall openings (hardware) but we cannot claim the intensity or amount of natural light that may enter through it and thus how the totality of space will befall (software) whoever is in it. Besides the quality of light the eventual meaning of the experience is heavily dependent on the idiosyncrasy and emotional state (again software) of the perceiving subject. This idea is relatable to the Japanese concepts of ‘Yugen’ and ‘Fukei’, which – in Ando’s terms – entail incorporating the sensibility of the archaic ineffable presence of living nature, inter alia, through the mutual interplay of light and material, “I believe that the architectural materials 54


do not end with wood and concrete that have tangible forms, but go beyond to include light and wind which appeal to the senses.”11 Again, when considering the main themes that arose in the analysis of Diogenes a division in the sense of the hard- and software categories could be made. When considering the building itself, in the sense of hardware, it is of course very distinct. Diogenes has bigger proportions than what can generally be considered as building standards. Furthermore its physical organization and spatiality is very distinct. Its software is of course dictated by its historical identity and the role it played in the second world war which in combination with its obscurity might create a feeling of ‘unheimlichkeit’. The hardware of its context is very clear as well; the bunker lies in the remarkable natural park of the Hoge Veluwe, offering a lot of potential to the building’s new use. What can be considered the project’s software context is the current modern society that has its own peculiar characteristics, offering new possibilities both from its own current form as in its discrepancy to a possible meaning of the bunker. When determining the hardware of use, one can think of the physical implications this brings along; what kind of demands and regulatory requirements does it entail as well as the type of facilities or equipment. The software side is a bit harder to understand, it has to do with what can be described as the ‘culture of use’, or, how do the people actually use the building, it they use it at all. It implies the relation between buildings (or spaces) and people during their activities. These points will become apparent along reading through this architectural elaboration. 11

Yuzuru Tominaga, Reflection on the architecture of Tadao Ando, in Tadao Ando: Complete works, ed. F. Dal Co, London (1995) pp. 510


Answering the research research question The project started out from a personal marvel considering the re-use of obsolete structures and the ambition to develop the own competence of being able to extract value from something that is in the general consensus considered valueless. Being able to see value where others might not, and through ‘distillation’ make them apparent to all, is personally considered a huge architectural skill. When investigating this topic and exploring the own affection to it during the first phase of the project, the fascination was channeled by laying its focus on a deliberately chosen building; the Diogenes bunker. As stated in the previous booklet of the preliminary research, the research question was as follows; In what way can the potential qualities of the existing building best be utilized in an architectural redevelopment, that shapes a new use and future of the bunker, while respecting and contributing to the physical and psychological identity of the site? As a result of this ambitious research question and starting point, the project started to comprise a lot of relevant themes that were in valuable relation to it, both direct and indirect. This rhizomatic accretion of meaningful subjects and perspectives has become apparent as the personal holistic, but still utterly in-depth, approach to architecture. This evolution can be traced over the academic master’s phase. (Further elaboration on this can be found in the reflection chapter) In short it came down to a process with a strong philosophical and conceptual bases that revaluated the personal total conception and approach of architecture. And even though this enriching growth and evolution was triggered by this graduation project, it has had, and will have, a deep and durable effect.


While the many topics are covered in both this booklet (Architectural elaboration) as in the preceding one (Preliminary research) a number of ever recurring themes became apparent as absolutely paramount. These were space, use and meaning. Their universality might seem troubling or nugatory at first but rather shows the worth this project has in developing the personal architectural competences, as well as a return to, and (re)investigation of, architecture’s fundamental themes. Moreover, the themes as discussed in the two booklets show how they are specifically rhizomatically intertwined in both the whole vision and the specifically designed parts of the project. Coming to a totalled understanding of the three above mentioned themes and slowly creating a vision that encompasses and interbreeds these values, was most important in the process of this project. Since this was an utterly complex operation which had to take into account a lot of parameters that had to be put in weighed mutual relations, its progress was therefore not to be rushed. Comprehending, valuing and balancing of these manifold qualities thus steadily continued as a red line through the entire process. Although the project in its final full-blown phase could also possibly ask for a somewhat different research question, it is still the intention to stick to the one that was originally formulated. The answer can be interpreted as coming from a different standpoint than the one that was initially taken when formulating the question, but it is just this discrepancy that shows the growth that resulted from the process in between.


In concisely answering the research question before reading through the total following disquisition it can be stated that thinking about space, use and meaning was again of supreme importance. In retrospect, four essential constituents can be ’distilled’ from the research question that are characterized by consisting of a Verb and a Noun; - Utilizing



- Redeveloping



- Shaping



- Respecting & Contributing

(physical & psychological)


This implies what type of architectural interventions were envisioned to be necessary and what aspects they should holistically address, while the adjectives further focussed their scope. As thoroughly exemplified in this booklet, every architectural action is related to one or more of the above actions and themes. In covering the first pair it was clear from the start that the approach was to work with what already existed onsite without feeling the need of adding a new architectural signature. Instead, letting the existent shine on its own by means of delicate removal of excesses (read ‘distilling’) revealed the building as a diamond in the rough. (hence Leonardo’s quote shows up as first and main aphorism in both booklets) The second set of conjoining verb and noun are directly related to the first. The project’s main focus is on foreseeing a new future for the obsolete building. As explained, the chosen approach focuses on profiting from the existing building without the need to create anew.


In successfully realizing the before mentioned, it was of utter necessity to find a new use for the bunker. This (hybrid) use had to be able to adapt to the building in order to respect and revalue the building’s identity. It is clear that this theme of use can be considered to be the crux in the success of the total project. It applies to all the other aspects; it takes benefit from the exposed potential architectural qualities as well as the characteristics of the existing building. It allows for a future use of the bunker and thus saves the bunker from perishing as an obsolete. Furthermore it adopts the building in its course of actions while also adapting to it. Vice versa, the building adopts the new use and adapts to it. This xenogamy is non-destructive and rather enriching for both as they respect each other’s identity. The final aspect was already covered but in essence entails a mutual assimilation of building and use; the building is of heightened value for its users, while the new use breaches the general opinion of the building’s dissonant identity, while adding new values and meanings. This last point has been crucial for the success of the project as the now following chapters will elucidate.



Society “How else do we find our center except by exploring our edges?12� - Tom Ehrich In modern society, it almost appears to be a necessity to experience burn-out (symptoms) or to become physically or mentally exhausted before we are willing to slow down, take some rest, contemplate and apprehend what is genuinely important in life. Nowadays there, as if naturally, seems to be so much noise and turmoil surrounding us, that the constant and nearly inescapable confrontation with it induces an ingrained pandemonic dissonance in our lives. As this linger has steadily increased over the most recent decades it has grown to become a hardly noticeable part of our daily routines. This causes an increscent deficiency of, and thus a longing for, the indispensible silence with which we can compensate those tumultuous living conditions. Religion & Spirituality Spirituality in the modern world Today’s society finds itself in an era that is characterized by an omnipresent abundance of versatilities, shaped and fed by an unprecedented influx of information and technologies. Never before did developments on so many different fronts succeed each other with such incredible speed, intensity and so shortly after another as in the present era, labeled as the information age. One of the most significant aspects of this epoch is that information easily travels across the entire planet within a split second after a mere click on a button or touchscreen. Lives and cultures are being shaped and reshaped through the seemingly unimpeded exposure to anything surrounding them. Transcultural syntheses and hybrid amalgamations seem to be the new rule to which the exception seems to be shaped by what we describe - and 12

Tom Ehrich, On a Journey: Meditation on God in Daily Life, (2010)


attempt to hold on to - as being ‘genuinely authentic’. Whilst archaic intuitions and insights have gradually been replaced by scientific facts, religion seems to have become a stranger in the midst as it is one of the few remaining life subjects to still hold on to its original ideals. There exist however the necessary justified motives for this; the sacred doctrine guarantees a distinct continuity in times of rapid (r)evolution and ensures a pious connection to the past. It has withstood the test of time and overcome its challenges along the way whereby the human mind has remained conscious of – and sensitive to – its spirituality.13 Despite the value of traditional continuity it is most probably so that anything will have to eventually admit to a certain degree of adaptation in order to survive. Even when traditions in themselves might strive to stay unadulterated, a changing context or spirit of age may still cause a shift in the meaning of religious and spiritual praxis and rituals. Motohisa Yamakage writes: “However, I also believe that religious expressions, that is to say the language and form of religion, must adapt and evolve. There is now so much exchange of ideas between cultures and faiths that traditional forms can no longer be justified on grounds of tradition alone. Social and cultural changes have been so profound that the old forms often lack relevance to modern men and women.”14 Naturally, everything exists due to diversity, and it is the synthesis of existing differences that creates the new. In this, it is not so much this newness, as it is the versatility and adaptability that plays a big and important role in its genesis. The confluence of circumstances – attainability and evolution in a versatile world – makes that on a spiritual level we created the tendency to only value the ideals that we deem credible or graspable with our minds or consider applicable to our lives. Due to this trend, man is becoming less and less reserved to adopting philosophies and values that originate outside the acquainted national-religious borders. The pressure on biased rigid religious 13 14

Motohisa Yamakage (ed. Paul de Leeuw), The essence of Shinto, Tokyo (2006) pp.20 Ibid. pp.21


systems and increment of rational consciousness has opened up the way for the expansion of our spiritual aspirations. Explorations in this metaphysical domain are the niche in which mind and spirit engage each other. This has, for instance, led to the rise of intellectual movements like theosophy, anthroposophy, and spiritual humanism; all of which are focused on stimulating mental evolution and spirituality.15 An interesting pattern that emerges therewith, is that the ideology of these types of movements often indicate - to greater or lesser extent - our (broken) relation to nature as the critical point that withholds us from getting closer to our essence of being human. In stark contrast to the spiritual xenogamy that crosses borders and now also acts outside of the familiar boundaries, there is still a major ethnic and religious intolerance which is fed by blind ignorance. For that matter it is exactly by making use of the possibilities that the modern era has to offer, that people of varying races, with their own cultural backgrounds and different (dis)beliefs can be brought closer together in mutual respect and understanding. This does not by definition have to imply that everyone will agree with each other, on the contrary, this would be highly undesirable from the cultural diversity point of view. But a better consideration of each other’s values and practices, and synthesis between peoples and cultures, does start with improved mutual understanding. An active situation like that would mean the moral evolution of the global society that man is so diligently searching for these days. As the field-work and research by Mathilde Cassani16 conclusively demonstrates it is a fact that the current urban programming is not sufficiently supporting the im- and export of 15

Ibid. pp 31 Matilde Cassani, Sacred spaces in profane buildings, Book 3. A public archive, New York (2011) – see also; Domus 946, Sacred interiors in profane buildings, Milan (2011) pp. 100 - 109 16


religions by means of institutions or designated places of worship. It is however permeable to all kinds of different small scale ad hoc interventions as to accommodate the versatile demands for sacred space. It is simultaneously moreover also a striking example of how different cultures can coexist in close relation to one another. The above stated theory has been important for the conception of how to reprogram Diogenes’ for the envisioned spiritual and ephemeral use. In an earlier phase of the project there was the idea to use the generally accepted tripartite of predominant religions as the basic guidance for the functional programming of the building. According to comparative religion this would entail a division emphasizing the Abrahamic (Christian, Islam & Judaism), Dharmic (Buddhism & Hinduism) and Taoic (Taoism, Confucianism & Shinto) religions. As clarified, this idea was later abandoned as it was most likely to result in a too rigidly hierarchical planning which would not be beneficial to the envisioned bigger whole. Instead, the work by Cassani was interpreted and translated into a meaningful form for the building’s future, which eventually led to the concept of ephemeral use and being determined by the actual users themselves. In this reversed hierarchy, the (new) architectural performance of the building uniquely orchestrates the endless variety of rituals taking place there, while vice versa the users imbue the bunker’s spaces with new meaning time and time again. In this way, the truly ‘open esotheric centre’ arose as a new architectural hybrid. In retrospect, this chosen approach - that fosters spiritual xenogamy - corresponded very well to the mutual influence and affection between the Greek (Western) philosophy and Buddhist (Eastern) spirituality in the time of Diogenes from Sinope.


Hurry! “Contemporary man, faced with the abundance of consumer goods, needs voids and nature” – Mirko Zardini A second idiosyncrasy of the modern era, which is also a corollary of the rapid large-scale innovation and constant ambient pluriformity, is that our ratio and urge for creation and consumption has perverted into superficial materialism. Besides the problems that this causes for the carrying capacity of natural ecosystems, this trend also signifies how we are losing comprehension of what is truly important, and improperly distribute our attention as we are heavily subjected to packed agendas. These things lead to deleterious unbalanced situations in both our professional and personal lives. The collective pressure to perform, attain wealth and uphold a reputation often surmounts our urges to slow down and take a step back. Stress is the ‘number 1 disease’17 at the moment and the current trend predicts that the quota of related (physical) diseases will keep on increasing rapidly in the near future. This knowledge is permeating the general consensus now that it is slowly becoming clear just how much the condition of the mind contributes to our functioning and well being. It is absolutely incorrect to think that this solely concerns older and/or weaker persons; stress and depressions occur across all classes, sexes and ages. In fact it is often the group of stronger, ‘most fortunate ones’, that need to cope with such conditions. This is commonly the case as it is from them that the most is expected – in situations they often created themselves – and thus need endure the biggest (mental) pressure. It is for good reasons that stress is oft called a ‘Western disease’; “Western excess is destructive” reads the social-critical motto of Sue Palmer, stress expert at the BBC.18 17

According to the RIVM about 20% of the Dutch population is once or more severely depressive in their lives. Eacht year this comes down to 8% of the total Dutch population, which equals 1,2 million people. The CBS ascertained a multiplication of the number of stress related deaths in the past decennia and speaks, apart from the personal grief, also of major economical expenses. 18 Sue Palmer, Toxic childhood, London (2007)


Attention & concentration on the present “The present moment is the most important thing we have” 19 - Thich Nhat Hanh Ask a random person how he or she is doing, and it is most likely you will get to hear that they are ‘busy as ever’. In following the previous chapter it should be noted that stress should not directly be regarded as a disease, as it might just as well be a dis-ease. The human body knows how to cope with pressure by means of a certain biochemical stress defense mechanism; a basal autonomous reaction urges some extra adrenaline into the bloodstream so to cope with the tensive situation. There should be, however, certain limits to such occurrences. In time, stress needs to dissipate in order to make way for the free time and space that we need in order to relax. When this does not happen in time it is most probable that this may lead to increased pressure on the (mental) life with possibly a decline in health or burn-out as a result. It is even so, that when a person experiences stress for an extended period of time this may eventuate in a physical reorganization of the brain structure in the lobe around the hypothalamus and pituitary.20 This hormonal system plays a vital role in our healthiness, consequently any disruption of this part of the brain may cause grave complications, of both mental and physical nature. Stress in itself is not so much a bad phenomenon, it ís important however that we can take the time to distance ourselves from whatever it is that causes our mental pressure. A good way to do so is to channel our attention and concentrate on a single thing. This does not necessarily need to be something that requires all of our mental capacity in order to succeed. On the contrary, it may very well be a simple task, what matters is that we completely focus on that single thing we are doing. This creates a situation in which our full 19

Thich Nhat Hanh, Taming the tiger within: Meditations on transforming difficult emotions, Riverhead (2004) pp. 119 20 3Doc, De Burn-out industrie, VPRO (2012)


attention is absorbed in our action in that moment and all other thoughts are being blocked off so that we are no longer concerned with possible stress factors. A striking example of such an exercise in concentration is the tea ritual. Ichi-go ichie (一期一会, literally "one time, one meeting") is a Japanese term that describes a cultural concept often linked with famed tea master Sen no Rikyu. The term is often translated as "for this time only", "never again", or "one chance in a lifetime". The expression is just one way in which chado – or, the way of tea – contributes to appreciation of the moment. The scrupulous defined rituals and attentiveness of the guests involved, make that one has to be fully committed to those actions while executing them during a tea ceremony. What we need to understand from this seemingly insignificant expression is that every moment is unique, and, when we acknowledge the evanescence of anything on earth, every moment should also be appreciated in observance of that comprehension. Thich Nhat Hanh’s captures this beautifully by saying; “Yesterday is already gone, tomorrow is not yet here. Today is the only day available to us. Today is the most important day of our lives”21 From this we can deduce that we should always be concerned with the present moment, not to be too worrying about the future nor rethinking our past; our focus is to be on the now. A concordant story tells of two men that, separated from each other, walk through the same forest, on the same day. It is the first wonderful spring day after a wet and dark winter. For the first time since months, the sun shines bright again and the remaining morning dew on the green moss and leaves fill the woods with a magnificently fresh natural scent while the silence of the forest is kindly permeated by melodiously chanting birds. The one man that strolls through the forest absolutely adores the encompassing trees and he enjoys the natural wealth that is created by the dawn of the new season. He opens his 21

Thich Nhat Hanh, Taming the tiger within: Meditations on transforming difficult emotions, Riverhead (2004)


senses to absorb as much of the natural surroundings as possible and his complete and utter presence in that moment and place rewards him with a phenomenal sense of freedom. Through this activity - as simple as a mere walk through the forest - the man attains a genuine happiness. The other man however, has a completely different experience as he is concerned with anything but the present moment. He cannot get his head around the fact that the inclement weather has been so incredibly bad the last few months; that it has been so cold and stormy and that the unceasing rains and gusting winds during his vacation kept him from doing anything enjoyable at all. Now that it the weather is better he worries that it might change back again, that the rain might start anew before the weekend starts, and he will still not have the chance to do the outside activities he likes. ‘Would it be smart to plan something ahead?’, he asks himself, ‘or will the weather have turned bad again?’ He is afraid it might well be so and decides to leave it for what it is. The foregoing anecdote illustrates what happens when you forget to live in the now; you are still engrossed in the things that happened yesterday and worried about what will befall tomorrow, and hence, the present is lost. How recognizable indeed are suchlike situations; during breakfast you are already mentally preoccupied by the business meeting that you will have later that afternoon, once you are at the office later that day you are finding yourself longing to get home again. When you are finally at home that same night, worrying starts again about what happened at work and the things that were said during that meeting, and when going to bed you already wish for the weekend. Then the next morning you are wakened by the alarm clock. Immediately after you turn it off and get up, your head starts to fill with concerns about work again, who you will have to face and with whom you will end up in fiery discussions again. When you subsequently step under the shower, it is as if you are standing there together with your colleagues.


The gains off attentively living in the present is twofold; firstly, we when we concentrate on the moment and really focus on what we are doing, all the additional thoughts and worries we might have, slide out of our minds, creating the opportunity to effectively have peace and tranquility descend upon us. Thus calmness does not by definition need to imply doing nothing. The second point is that by paying attention, to the moment and what you are doing in it, you automatically ascribe a higher value to it. A better appreciation inevatibly results in more joyful experience. No longer are you occupied with a number of different things at the same time, which forces you to split your attention, and not really appreciate any of those things you are doing. “In Homer there is the idea of ‘omens’ which of course in a 21st century you don’t believe, but which are interesting because they signify attending the world around you and other people as if everything was significant and then deciding on the basis of that significance. Whether or not the significance is there is not really the issue, because as I said I don’t believe in these omens, but the idea that I’m paying attention to the world as if things are significant means that I am paying better attention to the world.”22 A recognizable exemplary situation might befall us daily; ‘While we hastily eat our breakfast, because we already stood up a bit too late, we simultaneously try to take in the bitesize news from the morning paper. As we swiftly screen the headlines, we also reply to the first e-mail of the day on our smart-phone and directly note the requested appointment in our agenda. That box of apple juice needs to go into the backpack of the youngest son while the own lunchbox is still short of a banana. Moreover that second shoe appears to be missing and knotting that necktie is not working either; all while we really should have already left by now. By the way, where did I leave the car keys?‘ 22

Marcos Novak, Global locative media and the Renaissance of the particularity of place, Delft (2011) Lecture at the International Design Seminar INDESEM 2011


Of course we should not exaggerate too much, after all multi-tasking is not a bad thing in itself, on the contrary. It becomes problematic however, when our attention becomes so dispersed that even the most straightforward things start to go wrong. An innocent occurrence is for example when we open the fridge and then wonder what it was again that we were willing to take from it. Or walking to the next room and at the moment you get there start wondering why you went there. Seemingly benign incidents, but nevertheless writings on the wall at the very same time.



Meditating monk in traditional lorus position with his hands folded in the characteristic manner 73

Mindfullness & meditation “The ultimate source of my mental happiness is my peace of mind” - Dalai Lama In line with the importance of attentiveness, the goal and effect of meditation may also be two-folded. On the one hand, meditation could be practiced in attempts to actively find answers to intimate life issues. Besides this, the techniques can also be applied for the exact opposite purpose, namely liberating the mind from worries and thoughts. Besides the fact that such static techniques - as well as numerous other rituals - can contribute to disengaged cognitive states, there also appear to be more active activities that can have similar effects. Meditation is not merely sitting silently, in cross-legged position with one’s eyes closed, it can also very well comprise walking in a circular group, reciting certain scripts while focusing on the person who walks before you. This is the so called ‘walking meditation’ and it does not necessarily need this stamp for approval, one may for instance also unwittingly recognize this technique in pilgrimages. Midas Dekkers for example, deems that the secret behind the efficacy of (a walking) pilgrimage is in the occurrence that the basal reactions and impulses can be ruled out by commissioning the body with a single and utterly simple task; walking.23 According to likeminded neurobiological explanations ‘mind-dulling’ endeavors could liberate higher cognitive processes in order to overthink the intended (more important) matters, without being distracted by minor instances; “In the spring of 1137 the Cistercian monk St Bernard of Clairvaux travelled all the way around Lake Geneva without noticing it was even there. Likewise, after four years in his monastery, St Bernard could not report whether the dining area had a vaulted ceiling (it does) or how many windows there were in the sanctuary of his church (three). On a visit to 23

Midas Dekkers, De Wandeling, Santiago de Compostela, KRO (2010), Aflevering 2, 12-11-2010


Four levels of focus 75

the Charterhouse of Dauphiné, St Bernard astonished his hosts by arriving on a magnificent white horse diametrically opposed to the ascetic values he professed, but he explained that he had borrowed the animal from a wealthy uncle and had simply failed to register its appearance on a four-day journey across France.”24 When we regard the relation between attention and the meditative (zen) condition we can come to a qualitative gradation of the first-mentioned. This implies a distinction between the different levels of attention and how it is focused. There are roughly 4 stages; first of all there is the ‘everyday attention’. This is the sort of diffuse attention whereby – as mentioned before – our attentiveness is dispersed over a multiplicity of things with varying degrees of importance. A genuine concentration is lacking and our ideas and epiphanies sway in every direction. The second stage is reached when we are for example, involved in a conversation on a certain topic with friends or colleagues. This can be imagined as the channeling of our attention in a single direction, laying our focus in the direction of the conversation’s topic. Thirdly is the step in which we subsequently try to employ our total cognitive capacity to focus on one singular thing. This surpasses directional thinking and is representable by focusing on a point. This is a state of high concentration. Characteristic of situations that requires such concentration, is that people often tend to close their eyes, look away, or literally fixate their view on a single thing. One might also focus their gaze on nothing at all and seemingly stare into infinity, or seclude themselves from others in a quiet room. Shortly, this behaviour exhibits the natural habit to exclude any additional impulses that might cause distraction.


Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness, London (2006)


The last, highest state of concentration is reached when even that singular focal point dissolves and the point of our focus dematerializes completely. One could even describe it as the disappearance of concentration itself. This is commonly referred to as the zen state and is also imagined as the ‘empty mind’. Numerous spiritual movements suggest that in these conditions one has a total awareness of the ‘true self’ or is in complete alignment with the universe. The generally accepted saying is that in order to fully and truly comprehend this state of awareness, one has to experience it for oneself.




Abbey St. Benedict embedded in its natural context 80

Retraite in Vaals “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders� – Lao Tzu The door quietly closes itself behind you and as the lock softly falls into place, accompanied by a hardly noticable thud, you gently follow the guest priest walking in front of you as he guides you into the darkness. A deafening silence seizes the body until again a heavy door is being opened. The light and shadow, materials and colours, the soft breeze that caresses your cheek as the rhythmic sound of two pairs of footsteps echoes through the stone inner court; together they form a tranquil synthesis of serenity upon entering St. Benedict Abbey. Already from the moment one leaves the provincial road, that leads from Mamelis to Vaals, and heads into the direction of the Abbey, that can already be spotted the top of the hill, one has already literally turned his back to the bustle and noise, immanent to everyday (modern) life. About a hundred steps further, upon entering the robust bridge you seem to become even more detached from daily worries and anxieties. One has a panoramic view over the abbey and its surroundings when standing on the masoned bridge, under which a handful of cows makes thankful use of a fortunately broadend part of the rippling stream of water, locally turning it into a natural watering place. The monastery, with its characteristic conic towers, resides on top of one of the highest hills in the area. Major rows of mature trees usually cloak the building, but at the end of autumn the orange-coloured afternoon sun easily finds its way through the bare branches until it encounters the brick monastery walls, wrapping it in a slightly different hue of ocher than it does to the treetops that surround the building. The foot of these woods fade into the sloping green meadows that, underneath the wandering wild cattle, descend down into the quietly billowing creek that meanders effortlessly through the landscape. 81

The experience of the dawn of a new day, accompanied by the faint but sonorous Gregorian chant of friar Marc, cannot be expressed in words. The intensity of the prayers and the compelling silence in between the masses provide a profound experience. When one is not used to attending masses, switching to a strict scheme in which there are daily up to 10 moments of collective prayer requires for an intense assimilation. One needs to completely subject itself to the Benedictine rhythm, not only during the masses, but also during meals and animation. While at first glance this may appear to lead to situations of tension or distress, it is actually a liberation from any other expectations, which has a humbling effect that enables you to experience a rare feeling of inner peace. Solely the witnessing the Benedictines move through the monastery without making any unnecessary sound, hearing their responsorial Gregorian prayers while reading along with the text in Latin, and watching the incense take over the church as it dissolves in the air creates a life-changing experience. It made me recall how Wilbert Gieske described his experiences from the time he ministered as Thurifer25; “As the incense spread through the room, it started to work and was then incomparable to anything else; it acts in its willful way. It transforms the space; first it is a stone church, but with the incense, it becomes a place of possibilities.”26


Thurifer (from Latin thuribulum “censer” and ferre “to carry”) is in, inter alia, the Catholic, Angelican and Orthodox liturgy the acolyte who carries the incense vessel during Masses 26 Wilbert Gieske, De Wandeling in Japan, KRO (2011) Aflevering 1, 25-11-2011



To personally experience what it is like to leave behind a congested – but at the same time familiar – environment, so that the opportunity for a totally new experience opens up, has in the framework of this project been a good reason to go into ‘retraite27’. This part of the experiential research, of which the direct and bona fide experience was a main goal, eventually got to signify, on both a deliberate and subconscious level, an improvement of the sensitively intuitive immersion in the substantive matter of the project and affinity with the ‘esprit’ of similar functions and institutions. How easily, and especially how unnoticeable, the austere rhythm of the day can assimilate a person in retraite is astonishing. During a first seclusion in a place of tranquility - such as the abbey in Vaals - a kind of automatic self-restraint makes that you attempt, with scrupulous attention, to completely befit yourself to the rituals of the there established monastic order. The attention and devotion, but most of all the effortless ease, with which the friars perform the ceremonial operations become even more venerable in the light of the own presence as mere participating beholder. The tremendous respect with which everyone approaches the other is another impressive mores-like quality which is partly echoed in the aura of the building as an embodied institute, but also emanates from the passive authority of the monks. The combined totality creates an environment of reverence, in which appreciation and attention constitute two of the most important pillars for the customs and habitual practices between the people, as well as the use of the building and location itself. The before mentioned, assimilation of the monastery’s calm tempo, and the sound-filled silences become especially evident at the moments in which one has to again leave 27

Secluded retreat in a monastery, or other institution of comparable nature, often for reasons of rest and contemplation.


behind this oasis of serenity, and return to one’s everyday life. Such an enormous power emanates from the sincere tranquility - that is omnipresent within the cloister walls - that leaving it behind in order to go back to the unchanged ‘outerworld’ seems much harder than taking the initial step of going into retraite. Numerous unique experiences have been scribed into my memory during the few days I spent at the Monastery of Saint Benedict. Most intriguing was assisting in the ceremonial funeral of late friar Willibrordus and carrying him to his final resting place. Another special moment was when Brother Leo explained to me his work and techniques while showing me around his workshop. Besides his liturgical endeavors he is also specialized in crafting stone sculptures. Given that he was an apprentice of monk and architect Dom Hans van der Laan made it extra special when he told me something about his philosophy of creation, a quote that strikingly coincided with my own architectural approach for this project; “It signifies, in essence, merely the removal of excess28”


“Het omvat in essentie, enkel de verwijdering van het overtollige”




Distilling Architecture “A way of liberation can have no positive definition. It has to be suggested by saying what it is not, somewhat as a sculptor reveals an image by the act of removing pieces of stone from a block” – Alan Watts Besides respect for tradition, you also need to think about the need for change. But how to make that change, how to make history live and at the same time point a way to the future, I don’t know, I’m trying” – I.M. Pei Vision The bunkers identity is greatly based on its impenetrable exterior shell. In order to respect and maintain this important architectural asset, the necessary adaptations, that funnel light and air into the building, will mostly avoid tampering with this valuable characteristic. As a result great care goes out to extracting matter from the roof and floors in order to to open up the building and create the possibility to let it breathe. This not only improves the indoor quality in terms of light and air, it also adds greatly to the altered architectural experience; it creates delicately designed possibilities to connect with the natural environment – a quality which due to the intended use as an autarkic bunker was originally made impossible by extreme measures and to great extents. Moreover it adds to the readability of the bunker as it clarifies the structure of the building and creates points of reference throughout that allow its occupants to locate themselves within the bigger whole. The accession of light and the new spatial organization aims to clarify the labyrinth-like structure without completely destroying this characteristic that also contributes greatly to the bunker’s identity. As most of the light will enter from above, the bunker will acquire an overall gradation of lightness, ranging from totally obscured rooms on the lowest floors to completely open to the heavens at the top floor. 88

As the presence of these internal qualities of light and space cannot be read from the outside - due to the hermetically closed bombproof facades - the encounters with these unexpected architectural events will become all the more astonishing. Method “The image is stirring, and if I understand correctly, entails a delicate removal of walls and other matter which leaves space for light and imagination to filter through.”29 As this project originated in the wish to ‘distill architecture’ from a building that was from a general perspective regarded as a seemingly worthless and lacking any architectural intent, I set out to expose the rudimentary qualities that are immanent to the bunker but have remained in a ‘latent’ state until now. It is almost as if the milieu is now finally becoming convenient enough for the bunker to wake from its 50 year hibernation. “In many conversion projects the original building is often forgotten”30 In accordance with the wish to work as much as possible with that which already existed onsite, the envisioned interventions focused on letting the existent stand out on its own through careful selection and minute extraction of the original matter. This architectural method stays closest to the establishment of the building being a valuable ‘diamond in the rough’; not in need of adding a new architectural signature or highly contrasting modern interventions. “The carefully created lighting, both natural and artificial are very appealing. It is indeed quite an amazing thing that some of the strongest aspects of architecture are when a small section of wall or roof is removed to draw attention to the presence of light.[…] it really 29

Comment by Uri Ben-Ari upon seeing a render of this project Statement by Maarten Fritz, an architect specialized in restorations and conversions, during a lecture in Vertigo at Eindhoven university of Technology in 2011.



seems that the creation of an appealing floor surface, the selective removal of parts of the wall, and the intervention of appropriate detail moments is what the existing building needs. Your scheme has done those things.”31 [*The construction technology involved in the creation of the numerous openings stem from the techniques and machinery originally employed in the mining of marble and granite. A description of this process can be found in appendix A] Identity: (arche)type, function and use “The idea of things that have nothing to do with me as an architect taking their place in a building, their rightful place – it’s a thought that gives me an insight into the future of my buildings: a future that happens without me”32 His idea of infrastructure is explicitly theatrical; always open to (social) alteration: “If we compare the architecture of Western civilization to a museum, Japanese architecture is like a theatre. It provides various architectural elements, which are put together to form a stage where an event is to take place, rather than being there permanently.”33 The greatest theoretical feat of Ito’s infrastructure – not in the least for the interior designer – is its consciousness of subjectivity as performative, multiple, and changeable.34 What constitutes the identity of a building is not just what it looks like but moreover what it acts like; how it performs and how it is used by its occupants. Often in the case of altered types of use this can create a discrepancy between the function that is proclaimed by the building’s archetypal form and aesthetics, and the type of use it actually accommodates.


Andrew Burns’ (director of, and head architect at, his Architectural firm in Sydney) comment on the design of this graduation project 32 Peter Zumthor, Atmospheres, Basel (2006) pp. 39 33 Sophie Roulet, Toyo Ito, Paris (1991) pp. 105 34 Luca Basso Peressut, Interior Wor(l)ds, Turin (2010) pp. 109, and Ibid.


“It is by no means a given that there is an identifiable demand or rather functional concept for converted buildings. This is the case, for example, with specialized objects for which workable new uses are virtually impossible to determine and which would, at the same time, be too expensive to demolish – for example, bunkers – or other projects, which assume the function of creating an identity for the particular spatial context and which must therefore be preserved. In these cases, it is necessary to develop a function tailored to the building and the location in order to establish a new relationship between space and function. The search for a concept that might be applicable to such difficult, massive buildings frequently culminates in hybrid uses, combinations that would be unthinkable in quite the same manner at any other location.”35 As the predominantly physical constituent of Diogenes’ identity, the tectonics and so called ‘struktur’ of the bunker will be leading in the planning and functional organization of the building, and not so much the parameters and demands of the specific rituals themselves. These are, after all, so innumerable and at the same incredibly transient and versatile that it is virtually impossible to meet each of their specific demands. Furthermore, such an approach would probably lead to a situation in which the exisiting building would have to be altered to such an extent that a huge part, if not the totality, of its accumulated identity would have to be abolished. Simultaneously, research into the origins of rituals afforded insight into their performative nature, plasticity and what I termed ‘environmental accumulative ability’. This last term is not just an elaborate way of describing adaptability, it is much more than that. It coins the ability of a person, action, ritual, or type of use, to not only adapt itself to a certain setting, milieu or other environmental and momentary parameters, but also the valuable capability to 35

Christian Schittich, In detail : building in existing fabric: refurbishment, extensions, new design, (Berlin 2003) pp. 16


(actively) absorb and assimilate these parameters in its own process. This implied that a ritual use is particularly suitable for a tenacious building as Diogenes. It allows the building to stick to its original essence – without the need for radical interventions for the purpose of meeting functional requirements – while allowing the new uses to freely filter through its spaces, imbuing them with new meaning as they ephemerally adopt (‘territorialize’) them in their activities. “…sacred space is not necessarily stable. It’s temporary. It migrates along with the people who use it.”36 Combination of the findings mentioned above led to an approach in which qualities of both building and use are mutually respectful and interactive, which creates a new powerful liaison. This concept entails the combination of the rigid and the volatile. The qualities that resulted from the building analysis; the robustness, rigidity, obscurity, scale, unpretentiousness and material purity are combined with the ethereal, transient, adaptive, mercurial, humble, temporal and above all respectful nature of the ritual. This crucial point is what makes this approach so special and powerful; in this foreseen new future the existing building and the new use form a true symbiotic synthesis. As they both respect each other they allow the other to be like it is, while forging many new intimate relations again and again, in which they continually absorb each other. When engaged in a redesign process that aims to sensitively deal with the existing building it is of immense value to be able to create a scenario in which it is not just the building that absorbs the new use, but that the new use also absorbs the building.


Mathilde Cassani, Sacred spaces in profane buildings, UrbanOmnibus (2011)


The referenced work by Mathilde Cassani (see the paragraphs on ‘sacred spaces in profane buildings’) shows just how flexible a ritual use of the bunker might be. The findings of the fieldwork and ‘open source research’ she did to lay the basis for her ‘Sacred spaces in profane buildings’ exhibition demonstrates to what extent rituals are able to adoptively adapt to, and adaptively adopt, the places where they take place. This approach might also be desirable as the bunker breathes a strong atmosphere, which makes it possible for the building to serve as the backdrop of the new use without becoming insignificant or unapparent. In fact this will tone down the, possibly oppressive, presence of the bunker and actually employ it as a quality. Another advantage of the chosen approach is the fact that it will not lead to a redesign that focuses on a single use or ritual as its leitmotiv, subsequently becoming univocal in the process. This then opens up the possibility for each ritual to unfold itself in its own specific way, determining its own spatial timeframe. In doing so it creates a niche in which it will not just be the mainstream of rituals, or the ones that can be foreseen, that are granted a place, but also the smaller subcultures or the ones that might be unknown to us right now. Thus it creates the capability to adapt to future changes. In a truly democratic and symbiotic environment there should, after all, be a place for anyone.37


Jacob Voorthuis, An aesthetics of generosity, in Adaptables: when things around us start moving, Voorthuis.net (2009) pp. 4



Article in ‘Smaak’ magazine denominating Diogenes as Holland’s ugliest monument


Diogenes 2.0 “A traditional style is not employed, but it was the intention to bring back to life the true character of teahouses through the three-dimensional composition of spaces, details, and the distribution of light and darkness. It was my hope to arrive at a spiritual world transcending matter, a world that was simple yet not monotonous, respectful of nature yet not artless.”38 – Tadao Ando When ‘distilling’ architectural qualities from an edifice such as Diogenes it is an utter necessity to comprehend the matter one is working with as completely as possible. ‘Architectural‘ in this case again means more than just the sum of physical characteristics and employed materials, and extends to encompass elusive and intangible themes such as history, meaning, value and identity; the previously described as the ‘software’ side of architecture. Fully emerging oneself into the manifold themes that both directly and indirectly surround the concerning architectural object is a quintessential part of the research and fundamental underpinning of the design phase, indispensable for a sensitive treatment of the building at hand. One of the most significant aspects that came afloat was the internal structure and organisation. Described in the previous chapter regarding the history and construction of the bunker, it covered the physical configuration rather than the functional programming that paradoxically both instructed its underlying scheme and directly following its completion, conformed to it. This important topic of ‘struktur’ subsequently became of weighed co-preponderant significance for conceiving a new type of use. Following the hardware analysis, the following schemes depict the programmed spatial hierarchy. 38

Tadao Ando, A concrete teahouse and a veneer teahouse, The Japan architect 354 (October 1986), pp. 29


Empty ‘Struktur’


Central space / ‘Grossraum’


Spaces directly related to central space


Spaces indirectly related to central space


Secondary supportive spaces


Main corridors system


Vertical transport


Totality of spaces/ Space-filled building


Extracting matter in order to create new spaces and interrelations


Even though the strong interdependence between the original physical configuration and functional programming are indicated as paramount motives of the bunker’s highly valued identity, it did not lead to a mere appropriation of a given fact in a new manner through aesthetic embellishment. It rather culminated in a revaluation of thinking about what can be considered architecture’s main themes; space, use and meaning. The concept concerning the new use was probably the most important aspect of the project. As described in the chapter on employing hidden qualities, the new use had to be able to adapt to the building and adopt it in its course of activities. The building, vice versa, had to adapt to the use and adopt it in its structure and subsequent layer of its identity. The name and subtitle of the project are descriptive of the most essential themes of this project. “Distilling Architecture: coexisting with a bunker as a refugee from the city”; by distilling the building’s potential, but hidden, qualities, it could accommodate a function that entailed a separation from the hectic modern society (city), envisioning it as a symbiosis of both building and user that coexist (refugees). The dark and obscure idiosyncrasies of the buildings already pointed towards a certain type of use, with its remote location in a beautiful natural surroundings further underpinning such a choice. When seen from the perspective of use, it was necessary to choose a type of user that would allow the building to be itself without having to alter its identity too much. On top of that, the building would have to offer increased value for the use itself. Otherwise, why not choose for another building? This approach might seem straightforward but does not appear to be. Focussing on what already exists on site and making use of it does not come naturally in conversion projects; “In conversion projects, the original building is often forgotten…furthermore, one of the most important interventions is the removal of ‘noise’ and the reorganisation of what already exists.”39 39

Quotation from restoration specialist Maarten Fritz at a presentation at Eindhoven University of Technology


Overview sketch depicting how the former functions might cumulate in a new use 107

“…a definition of the sacred place, an architectural setting where ‘place plus meaning’ are powerfully synthesized. As we shall observe, the sacred place has a multitude of origins, uses and forms. In spite of this diversity, however, it generally conforms to consistent, identifiable themes. The sacred place is a place apart, separated from the profane world. It communicates shared symbolic meanings and provides a place where God or gods are worshipped and rituals enacted. Examples range from a simple clearing in the forest to a complex architectural setting.”40 Eventually this led to revaluing the Diogenes bunker as a ‘open esotheric center’ open to everyone from any culture, religion or spirituality to find tranquility in the concrete mastodon and its open natural surroundings, by focusing on rituals. A second motivation is to remedy the transcultural ignorance by making the different users aware of each other by accomodating the numerous ceremonies and rituals in such a way that a xenogamy arises by means of interrelations. Thinking of the new use in a transient sense makes that the bunker can encompass much more than its direct physicality would allow it to. This changeful aspect makes that during its coming lifetime the bunker would be subject to many different interpretations and ritual uses as each group of users temporarily defines its own place within the whole following their own insights and agendas. “Often rituals were enacted by the community according to a yearly schedule of festivals and celebrations. These had the principal function of rededicating and resanctifying the temple. All the major religions have an annual calendar of observances and their associated rituals. These observances have traditionally included some type of processional within the


Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, Boston (1996), pp. 52


Spiritual seasons; collection of the different religious calendars


sacred enclosure. In addition to these group enactments, daily rituals and ministrations are carried out by the priesthood.�41 The following paragraphs will sketch the situation in and around Diogenes in its envisioned new condition, performing as the open esoteric center. Starting with an atmospheric description of the sequential approach to the bunker, via the point of entry, ablution and acclimatisation to the central space and roof garden.


Ibid., pp. 76


Sketch of the sequential approach to Diogenes


Approach The tea garden (roji) of the sukiya serves as a device for creating a similarly separate world. It is both an approach leading from the outside world to the separate world of the teahouse and a barrier dividing the inside from outside space. The teahouse is a device that isolates even more definitely.42 Already upon entering the parking lot, it immediately becomes clear that something extraordinary is about to happen; there is something about this place. The woods breathe a distinct atmosphere - an awareness suddenly underlined as the hulking sound, of what has to be an enormous tower-bell, pierces the thick mist that enshrouds the trees and fills this early morning. The parking lot is covered with white pebbles, that affirm our weight through a gritting noise as the pression of our footsteps forces their pale surfaces to scrape against each other. The base of the large trees, that penetrate the bright stone blanket that covers this open spot, are enrobed - the first few meters above ground - with what looks like some sort of protective layer of slender wooden boards. The route that forms the approach of the building channels the view in different directions, at a certain point aimed at what appears to be a overgrown rock wall with a pond at its foot, but the moment you are about to reach it, the path takes a sharp turn to the right. As you head in the new direction, away from the stone colossus, the track starts to descend at a pleasant angle. As you look further ahead you notice a group people, dressed in all white, coming from the right, crossing the path, and continuing their way in the left direction. “Did we miss a shortcut?�


Tadao Ando, A concrete teahouse and a veneer teahouse, The Japan architect 354 (October 1986), pp. 29



As we come closer to the point where we just spotted the group of people, who appeared to be in some sort of procession, the thick morning mist is gradually penetrated by the vague contours of a dark object. As we approach it the contours start to trace the outline of what appears like an outhouse, firmly braced in its place by a variety of dense shrubs. The fog, in front of what has to be the entrance, clearly marks the opening by diffusing the light that comes from inside. Another, this time much louder, chime swells from within the structure, which judging from the deep sound and echo, must be incredibly robust and compact. The light inside seems to come from a fire or large amount of candles as it flickers and recoiled when the bell just struck. From the sound of it, the bell itself has to be immense to; “Can’t wait to go in and find out!” “To reach the threshold and sacred place, often there is a path and entry sequence. The path that leads to the place can take many forms, from an axial, linear progression, to a labyrinthine maze, and typically involves a series of spaces or events, each becoming increasingly more sacred.”43


Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, Boston (1996), pp. 59



Impression of the bell bunker 116

Lighting of a candle in the bell bunker as a ritual act 117

Bell Bunker The most peculiar element that one encounters along the path that forms the main approach of Diogenes is a small annex bunker. This small but heavily fortified building used to provide for the (emergency) power supply. Located south-west of Diogenes, at a distance of approximately 100 meters, it now lays as yet another obsolete remnant of a troubled history, unwished and uncared for. The new scheme revives the future of the concrete outhouse, conceiving it as a so called ‘Bell bunker’. It is situated in between the gradually descending slope (symbolizing the abandonment of the ordinary or profane world) and the stepped ascend (symbolic of attaining spiritual growth) towards the bunker. A straightforward extraction of concrete from the full height of the bunker’s east wall creates an ever open entry point to its intramural space. By purging some minor subdivisions from its interior, one simple rectangular space arises. To each of the remaining walls long shelves are affixed, while in the very center of the internal void a colossal bell is hung. As mentioned, the bell bunker represents a turning point, a juncture between the ordinary and the special; the profance and the spiritual; the indistinct and the focused. In order to emphasize this fact, the building creates the possibility for a ritual as a token of this, a thing to commemorate. On the shelves that hang on the walls, candles can be placed and lit after which the bell may be struck a single time. As the deep and loud tone of the bell vibrates through the space and body, down to the bone, its sound waves make the flames of the surrounding candles flicker in one harmonious surge. This powerful experience is marks the start of the retraite in Diogenes. 118

Monumental entry stairs photo 1:50 concrete model) 119

Entrance Sunlight penetrates the void of the entrance from the back of the person, standing in the doorway. As direct sunlight is blocked by the entering body it casts its contours into the space, elongating his posture in a darker light, across the broad steps of the steep entry staircase. While standing there in summer, a gentle cold radiating from the bunker’s vast concrete mass, reaches the face and front body with a hardly noticeable breeze, while the sun still enshrouds the neck and back of the head with a warm glow. As one descends the monumental stairs, the movements of the body are projected into the space by its shadow, further emphasizing the corporeal presence of the guest. Even though the entrance fully encompasses the body with massive walls the temperature and damp humidity make it feel like a an outdoor space while the raw concrete imbue it with a temple-like aura. “At the sacred place itself, in most cases, the separation and enclosure are further delineated by an opening or entry threshold, and an entry path. The threshold acts as a transitional zone between the outside and the inside; it both separates and joins these two opposing zones…Transitional spaces of this type not only establish a boundary, but symbolize passage from one mode of existence to another. That is why bridges and narrow gates are common mythological themes concerning spiritual transformation. There are many rituals associated with the crossing of the threshold, the taking off of shoes; rites of purification and sacrifice; even places of judgement.”44 As is the case with Diogenes, when moving from a vast and open approach with an imposing vantage point, to a small secluded space that is subdued, the tremendously overwhelming forces of anticipation that are evoked by the first experiences of greatness 44

Ibid., pp. 58


are condensed into the latter minute finalisation and attainment of the eventual goal. This spatial process could be considered to evoke and subsequently condense the architectural and corporeal experience into a manifestation of the sublime. A remarkable example of such a purposefully and elaborate sequence of spaces is at the Mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Where one first crosses a number of courtyards connected by staircases, through different colonnades and inner court after which a narrow opening grants entrance to a small passageway where the total sequential experience eventually culminates in a minute sanctum that is considered the holiest of holy. In the case of Diogenes, one is first introduced to the mysterious building from different perspectives as the approach of the bunker is a combination of guidance towards, and deflection from it, while undergoing multiple experiences along the way. Then, during the last part, right before entering, the visitor is provided with a clear view of what he/she is about to enter. While the entry building is only a diminutive portion when compared to the ungraspable whole, it is still colossal, as is the actual entrance opening. A powerful extraction of concrete from the outer wall created a high and narrow passageway which, due to the thickness of the wall, imposes a sense of compression. The space that lies behind is, on the contrary, wide and open. Here one stands at the top of a grand set of stairs, overlooking the broad steps and the next doorway at its foot, that leads to a following passageway. When descending the staircase of solid concrete, the rooms grows and rises overhead, step by step, while the next destination becomes more and more apparent. However, as soon as continuing to the next passage, through to what used to be the first stage of a gasslock, the visitor is again compressed. This time however, the crushing feeling is realised by a hefty lowered overhang that oppresses from above while the tapered walls do the same from the both sides. This space acts like a giant funnel, compressing whoever enters.




View into the ablution room with water running down its wall and underneath the raised wooden platform 124

Ablution “The path to the sacred place, today as in the past, often re-creates the pilgrim’s journey and its three components of preparation, separation, and return. Typically, there is a clear delineation of entry, a place of decision as to whether to start the journey or not. This threshold also establishes what may be the first of many points of separation between the sacred and the profane, and generally involves some kind of ritualistic shedding of the outside world, as in ablution.”45 A key aspect and central theme - universal though different in execution and meaning - in well-nigh every religion or spirituality is the mental and physical cleansing through ritual purification, or ablution. In this ritual, water often takes a most prominent position, be it pure and natural straight from a creek or well, or with the use of utensils and additive supplements after it has undergone ritual purification itself; “Water often possesses strong symbolic content in religion, and the practice of ablution is a ritual that is shared by all of the world religions. In the Shinto faith, ritual purification is performed by washing one’s hands and rinsing out the mouth at the water trough located at the entrance to the shrine. Zen Buddhist temples and teahouses also have places for ritual ablution. Christianity has a similar practice centering around the font of holy water in the narthex of the church. Islam is distinguished, in part, by its ritual acts of ablution before one enters the mosque…Ablution is common at Hindu temples as well.”46

45 46

Ibid., pp. 55 Ibid., pp. 74


For Diogenes, the ablution space for ritual purification follows directly after the entrance and is created by combining two spaces that in the original scheme of the bunker were already envisioned as lavatories for the officers. By extraction of a large part of a side wall, the combined space now becomes accessible from what used to be the gas lock, but now directly follows the ceremonial staircase point of entry. As this ablution space is one of the first places in which the guest truly finds himself within the actual bunker, it focuses on forging a relation between person and building. This is done by not simply providing lavatory amenities such as the ones one might expect to find at places of ablution. Across the entire southern wall, water runs down from the top, offering an alternative way of ritual cleansing. The intention here is that one comes in direct contact with the bunker at the very moment in which the person for the first time actually engages a ritual within the bunker; one has to physically touch the wall in order to intercept the cleansing water that runs down the wall so to start the ablution. The wall of falling water silently shoots underneath the raised wooden platform - a sort of jetty – which has been placed in the room as to create a plane, suspended above the floor that is flooded with water. The angle, of the inner corner where the flooded floor and wall meet is rounded off. This detail ensures that the falling water silently transits to the horizontal floor creating a gently bustling sound rather than the noise of a small waterfall. On the other side of the platform, a certain distance is kept to the wall, so that this creates a place for washing ones feet and lower legs as is accustomed in some religions. The tranquil subdued atmosphere of the dimly lit space is, apart from the audible effect of the water, further modified by the play of light, generated by the running water that reflects and spreads the light in continuously unique patterns across the surrounding walls and ceiling.



Space for architectural, spiritual and social acclimatisation 128

Acclimatisation At the moment one truly enters the main bunker - after the ritual purification and mental preparation in the ablution room – the guest runs into the reception. Here one is likely to be welcomed by the host(ess) from behind a counter, which is a simple wooden volume placed in the void that resulted from the delicate removal of a segment of the original wall. Directly adjacent to it is a so called ‘acclimatisation space’. Here, one can sit down and relax or converse with other visitors. It is a room in which new guests can get acquainted by talking to some of the other people that are there, people who might already have the necessary experience with the building and its use. Moreover it is, among others, one of the biggest gathering spaces where guests from different cultures, each with their own particular reasons for being present, can freely exchange ideas, thoughts, values, knowledge, philosophies and experiences. One could describe it as a melting pot within the greater cultural-spiritual incubator that is the building. It is a porous space with many, mostly original, openings from which the doors are taken away in order to create an inviting and accessible space. The west wall is removed as to establish a stronger (spatial) relation to the point of entry and reception. To the north, the space is enclosed by a 2 meter thick concrete wall, separating it from the central space. Small slits are minutely cut into this wall with the use of a diamond belt-saw. The resulting interstices not only cast natural light into the otherwise dark space, they are also a source of fresh air and allow sounds from the central court to penetrate. As the width of the slits is limited, one is easily tempted into curiously wondering what is going on in the heart of the building. But one has to come up close and put their eye right in front of the narrow crevasses in order to get a peek. Another aspect of the space that is customized-in-place for the new situation is the floor. In order to properly utilize the bunker’s spaces for archive storage, an asphalt floor was poured over the original - but at numerous places heavily damaged - concrete floor. This 129

was necessary for being able to properly move trolleys throughout the building. This asphalt surface will be polished, using the same techniques as those employed to polish concrete. This treatment will also transform the existing situation to a new state in which the old stands out by means of its own qualities that are now exposed. The only ‘new’ element that is added to the space is actually old itself, as it is made from locally recycled wood. Its pure and distinctive materiality makes that this removable large furniture piece is recognizable as such. The bare wood relates to the exposed concrete that envelopes the space, while creating a warmer, more friendly, atmosphere. The wood not only changes the visual appearance of the room, it also absorbs the sounds, such as those of the people using the space and talking to each other in it. This ensures that no sounds will travel into the heart of the bunker as this might be bothersome for when that (adjacent) space is used for purposes of silence like meditation, mute rituals or certain prayer services. In a more direct sense, the use of a ‘warm’ material also benefits the touch, in the way that as the furniture piece is most likely to be leaned or seated upon, its surfaces will not feel cold. This opens up the corporeal experiential dialogue with the physical surrounding world in which the user becomes the shintai. Lastly, the shape of the wooden element is designed in a way so to further consolidate the room’s performance as a social space47. The presence of a hearth might further support this. The above mentioned techniques can all be conceived of as methods of ‘distilling architecture’. *[The personal experience of arriving at the Abbey in Vaals for the first time evoked the awareness that one can easily experience the feeling of being lost and not knowing what to do. The design of this communal acclimation room is a direct response to this] 47

Jacob Voorthuis, The interaction of the body in its projected environment, Voorthuis.net (2007) pp.2; With the example of the Chapterhouse at Wells Cathedral, Voorthuis demonstrates the interraltioanship between form and use


Central room, or ‘Grossraum’, (re)territorialised as Aikido dojo 131


The interior (can be) warded from rain and direct sunlight by a teflon canvas 133


Heart of the bunker “Often the sacred enclosure had an opening to the sky, a symbolic connection to heaven, an element powerfully present in the oculus of the Pantheon in Rome.”48 The confined views through the narrow slits in the wall of the adjacent acclimatisation room grant a limitary impression of the bunker’s central space. The monumental void in the heart of the building can generally be considered to be the building’s original raison d’être. From the outset, this grand room has been the fundamental reason for the creation of the entire eventual structure. During the time it was adapted for storage however, the monumental spatiality was destroyed by ‘functional’ subdivisions. The aim is to restore this while transforming it to a new situation, making its identity valuable for a new use once again. Purging the space, by removing some minor remnants of the old spatial division and clearing out the steel structure that has been placed in order to maximize storage capacity, creates a room with a dimension and atmosphere that is hardly conceivable in the current situation. “Shinto shrines involve a linear progression from the secular world to the sacred, each space purer and holier than the preceding one, culminating in the inner courtyard.”49 The central space resembles this courtyard, not just in its importance to the total use but as well in its main physical idiosyncrasies as it becomes both empty and open. As the centre is currently hermetically shut off from desirable qualities such as light and fresh air, a single powerful gesture seems obvious. As it is the bunker’s only space that stretches for more than one story – in fact it reaches all the way to the roof - it lends itself 48 49

Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, (Boston 1996), pp. 63 Ibid., pp. 84


pre-eminently for opening it up to the sky. An intervention in the roof furthermore conforms to the before mentioned desire of tampering with the visual part of the concrete shell as little as possible. Another point to the which the intervention should be sensitive is the secret that the roof holds, namely, the steel trusses that were cast into the 2m thick concrete roof as extra resistance against air raids. By extracting the concrete from in between, they for the first time become apparent and identifiable. In this case again, careful removal of (authentic) matter, actually (re)produces, or at least exposes, history. Just like the narrow slits in the wall, it extricates the building’s story and emphasizes its (physical) character and identity. By further omitting any intervening elements in the resulting roof slots allows wind, air and rain to penetrate, establishing an intimate relation with nature as in fukei (for an elaboration on fukei see next paragraph on kutei). “When exposed to the elements, these voids bring changes of light and climate that become part of the ethos of the space itself. This is close to the idea of ‘yugen’ in Japanese poetry, wherein the ineffable presence of living nature is sensed through such things as a faint drizzle or a sudden unexpected breeze, the outset of twilight or the premonition of dawn.”50 However, inserted between the resulting 2m high concrete beams are a number of red and green translucent panels that will project a similarly colored pattern of light. As this colourful pattern is casted onto the inner walls and floor by the sun it will subsequently follow its course during the day. In case of rain, or intense solar radiation, the heart of the bunker still needs to be serviceable. For this, a (Teflon coated) canvas can be suspended, high up in the space – 50

Thomas Rimer, Introduction to From the Country of Eight Islands, Seattle (1981)


The central space allows for an incredible amount of gatherings and ritual ceremonies such as Loi Krathong, which is the Thai annual lunar festival 137

just beneath the girders, so to cover the inner courtyard. This will prevent rain or direct sunlight to reach the central area. As along its sides it does however allow for a certain offset to the walls, one will still notice nature’s conduct and its seasonal characteristics, without being too much impeded by it. The original openings in the wall - that used to serve as entrances to the tribunes - will be preserved and will (ideally) remain open as much as possible. This (en)forces a strong relation between the central space and the surrounding rooms. This way, it not only starts functioning as the bunker’s lungs, as it provides fresh air and light, but it also emphasises the desired xenogamy between the various users. Multisensuous relations, both visual and audible as well as smell, will enable a synaesthetic cross-fertilitsation of cultures, philosophies, religions and spiritualities. By clearing out the center as one big space and opening it up, the central ceremonial space becomes suited for the accommodation of rituals of larger congregations or similar gatherings in which many people are partaking.


A look up through the openings in the roof 139


Detail of a boarder at Ryoan-Ji’s rock garden 141

Kutei (Karesansui (Karesansui/ Karesansui/Sukkot ukkot) ot)

As stated earlier, the bunker’s organization follows a systematical scheme in which the layout of each floor is based on the same functional planning concept. The third floor however, differs from this in a number of ways. First of all, there is no additional wing to this floor, which is the case for all of the others. This has everything to do with its most peculiar idiosyncrasy. Because what is most striking is its limited height, which is only about half of the conventional floor height. From a traditional point of view this makes this upper storey practically unusable. Even though this inference is understandable, the third floor also holds great spatial potential when looked at from an architectural point of view. Suppressed under a 2 meter thick concrete roof, its position in the building favors it to open up to the sky. By cutting out segments out of the roof, its former limited height is locally eliminated, by which its spaces becomes sky high as its heavy concrete roof is replaced by a canopy of clouds and stars. “a piece of sky suddenly appears and becomes a meaningful and coherent architectural element”51 These spaces at the upper floor now become more than merely useable; they become places of great relief, and a connection to the natural elements and outer conditions. Interventions like these imbue the bunker with light, air, wind, mist and rain allowing for relating to the natural cycles. Perceiving the daily and seasonal fluctuations of nature’s cycles can be a dialectic cause for experiencing the sublime, as ‘the glimpse of the eternal within the moment’;


Pham T. Hien, Abstraction and Transcendence: Nature, Shintai and Geometry in the architecture of Tadao Ando, Cincinnati (1998) pp.119


“The Japanese, moreover, have been inclined since ancient times to discover eternal character in that which fades and dies, feeling the eternal to be intuitable, contradictorily, in what has only fleeting existence. A flower is an ideal metaphor for this: for it withers, scattering its petals, just when we find it to have attained its optimum beauty. Though we pray for that beauty to endure, nothing in this world is immortal, and there is, finally, no more apt symbol for our yearning for the eternal in that which fades in an instant […] I introduce nature – light, wind, and water – within a geometric and ordered architecture, thereby awakening it to life. Climatic changes in turn transform the condition of architecture from moment to moment. Contrasting elements meet with startling results, and in these results, architectural expression is born that is capable of moving the human spirit and allows us to glimpse the eternal within the moment. The abode of the eternal is thus within he who perceives it.” Nishida summarizes this most strikingly: “eternity and infinity reveal themselves in temporality and finitude”.52 Furthermore, the presence of Fukei53, or ‘abstracted’ nature, in the building is of grave importance for the way we experience it corporeally through the ‘Shintai’, as according to Ando: “The active dimension of knowing in the perception through shintai lies precisely in the body’s emptying capacity for the full manifestation of the thing within one’s interiority. Shintai empties its sensational capacity to be filled by the moisture, coolness, and gaiety brought by a breeze… one’s contact with natural elements in the place is based on the radical acceptance of things in which ‘wind and rainwater penetrate shintai’54” 52

Kitaro Nishida, Complete works, Tokyo (1987) pp 213 Fukei is the Japanese word for landscape, compounded of Fu, meaning ‘sun’ and Kei, meaning ‘wind’, suggesting that nature comes from wind and light and thus “implying a panorama continually animated by the play of wind and light” . See Kenneth Frampton, Body and building, Cambridge (2002)pp 321 - and; Pham T. Hien, Abstraction and Transcendence: Nature, Shintai and Geometry in the architecture of Tadao Ando, Cincinnati (1998) pp119 54 Tadao Ando, From the Sumiyoshi House to the Townhouse at Kujo, Shinkenchiku (1983), pp 173 53




The opened up top floor becomes a roof garden, or ‘Kutei’, reterritorialised as a Karesansui 146

He also speaks how this influences the physical dimension of architecture: “My intent is not to express the nature of the material itself but to employ it to establish the single intent of the space. When light is drawn into it, cool, tranquil space surrounded by a clearly finished architectural element is liberated to become a soft, transparent area transcending materials. It becomes a living space that is one with the people inhabiting it. The actual walls cease to exist, and the body of the beholder is aware only of the surrounding space.55” Purposefully denoted as Kutei, meaning ‘garden of emptiness’, its meaning is to be determined by he/she who enters it (*see paragraph on ‘ma’ in the chapter on Space for further elaboration on the intended meaning of ‘emptiness’ in the context of this project). This open roof-court is a stable architectural entity, but is still meritoriously subject to change and adoption; both in the sense of its receptivity to natural influences as its mutation towards types of use. Just like the other spaces it is not to be kept in a dogmatic predetermined bodice but able to absorb any use or meaning one has in mind for it. A possible scenario, and perhaps most akin to the notion of a ‘garden of emptiness’, is when the space is territorialised as a so called karesansui, or ‘dry rock garden’. This mysterious type of Japanese garden is mainly conceived of as a place for contemplation and meditation. The meaning of its pièce de résistance, the Ryoan-ji, has been subject to debate since its original creation and remains undetermined to this very day. While the answers to these questions may never be found (maybe just evoking them is the garden’s entire goal), its efficacy is all the more striking and versatile; "The garden stones are calming; their mute presence somehow reassuring. I sit on the veranda to be closer to them the way one will sit at the edge of the ocean, not needing to 55

Tadao Ando, Tadao Ando: Complete works, ed. F. Dal Co, London (1995) pp. 453


enter to be refreshed. The stones cast shadows, marking out dark crescents on the sand. They are brown, but not uniform in color, some rust, others coffee; all gnarled and angular. They have been set out in space to develop a tension, an imbalance that gives the garden its visual vitality, like the positioning of the mountains in an ink landscape, scattered about in the mist. Though many explanations have been attributed to the garden over the years, the meaning remains unclear. Still, an inherit understanding of the potency of imbalance applies, even as it does to the ink landscape paintings that served as models for the garden's design. The natural world has provided many symbols and motifs for artists — plum blossoms to express evanescence, running water to reveal nature's constant flux — but the landscape itself supplies the most compelling philosophy; a single, potent thought. Imbalance is energy."56 Also referred to as Zen gardens, the compositions of moss, rocks and raked gravel are moreover an important aspect of zen, with most monastery, shrines and temples having their own karesansui; both echoing the teachings of the Buddha and assisting in the day to day practice of meditation; Zen gardens are regarded as representational of Zen discipline, because the garden is regarded as expressions of individual worlds of thought, therefore, copying was strictly forbidden. Their true meaning lies in the viewer's imagination and interpretation of the abstract symbolism landscape. Most Zen gardens rely on a strong sense of enclosure for its mood. Enclosure functions as the garden's definition, and is often a quiet escape place. The surrounding wall represents a visual boundary or by placing stones against the ground and gravel [‌] The reduction of materials concept in the Zen garden to its absolute minimal reflects the Japanese attitude toward the sensitivity to art, beauty, and spaces, in which are


Marc Peter Keane, The art of settings stones, (Berkeley 2002) pp. 115


often implied rather than stated: The spaces in Zen garden are to be sensed more than viewed.57 The focus is not so much meant to be on the objects (rocks) but rather on the emptiness that is the space in between (gravel). This is arguably underlined by the fact that at the garden of Ryoan-Ji - being the magnum opus - is constructed in such a way that from any vantage point, only 14 of the 15 rocks can be seen at a single time. Allegedly, reaching the Zen state by meditating on the garden would allow you to oversee the entire garden as it would bring total clarity. Another possible implementation is when the open spaces accommodate the sukkah during the Jewish festival of Sukkoth. Originally known as the feast of Tabernacles (booths) it is a seven day holiday that is reminiscent of the 40 years that the Israelites traveled through the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. For this week, temporary huts are constructed (symbolic wilderness shelters that commemorate the time when God provided for the Israelites) to eat, sleep and pray in. They need to contain at least three walls, a bed, chair and table and the structures are topped with skhakh (large leaves) which still allow a relation to the sky. During the Sukkoth festival, the spaces on the roof can attain a new meaning and religious significance by accommodating numerous Sukkoth, being (de/re)territorialized in the process.


SJSU, Historical Japanese gardens, SJSU Digital art lobby (2001) http://gallery.sjsu.edu/oldworld/asiangate/gardens/jpgardens.html




Roof garden reterritorialised during the Sukkot festival


Ma, or interstices; important (transitional) spaces in between the ‘actual rooms’ act as spaces of social, cultural and spiritual xenogamy. The above proposal contains a wall of so called ‘omikuji’, or sacred lots, attached to pine spindles in the wall, introduces this element of Shinto ritual to all passers-by. A simple light ribbon, created by extracting matter from the roof, highlights this aspect while a protruding part of a raised wooden floor invites all to enter and experience the ulterior ritual. 153

Impression of a transitive space which can also be used for meditation and contemplation. The low section in the outer wall allows water (coming from the WWII ‘zerschellerplatten’ that are made into an artificial pond around the bunker by putting them under water) to gently flow into the space. Light enters through the water, creating a unique play and quality of light, giving it the atmosphere of an underwater grotto. Moist air coming in from outside, cools down and condenses on the walls and ivy, whose growth is in return stimulated by these humid conditions. The unique acoustics and sound of falling waterdrops imbue the space with an unprecedented serenity; the sound of silence. 154

Minor reversible interventions and temporary additions clarify and emphasize the bunker’s physical identity while the basement accommodates a new use that exhibits the history of the place


Basement / Catacombs Catacombs The basement of the bunker, the part which used to contain solely facilitary and utilitarian functions like the boiler, emergency power supply and air-filtration system, is the part of the building that since WWII has been tampered with the least. The fact that these subterranean spaces were mostly unusable during the post-war period is the main reason that it is this section of the bunker that has remained most authentic and holds most of the historic relics in the form of old diesel-engines, boilers and such. These idiosyncrasies earned this realm the name of the ‘building’s viscera’ or ‘sacred sanctum’. In line with this distinct, and relatively untouched, historic state, this part of the bunker will become a place that pays a tribute to its remarkable past. As the bigger part of Diogenes is mainly the experiential didactical setting of its own history and presence (while at the same time accommodating a new use), the catacombs will become a place that consciously focuses on the stratified history intrinsic to the building and its context. This is done by furnishing the rooms with displays that depict the preamble to WWII, the building’s construction, the building’s function and the important role it played, the (air) war itself as well the various functions that the bunker fulfilled during the aftermath. In order to have enough room to accommodate the full story, the basement, that is still originally subdivided into an eastern and western part, will be connected to each other by means of a narrow diagonal slit through the 3,5m concrete wall that separates the two segments. This interstice contains a staircase that is necessary to bridge the difference in height between the two basement parts. The walls of concrete that remain after the cut will be polished so that its surface is recognisably different from the original walls, representing the fact that it here concerns a later intervention. Moreover, since the slit is so narrow, it will almost definitely force its passers to come into contact with these wall, which will because of this be a pleasant encounter with the bunker’s materiality. Lastly, this polished, but 156

Impression of the basement that becomes an exposition space 157


The sparse remaining war relics form a red line through the museum-like catacombs 159


The part of the basement that still contains the original diesel engine that acted as emergency power supply is reservedly transformed to a chapel with utterly simple means. The vertical shafts become the places where one can light a candle, while the old floor recesses become the new sources of light.


undulating, surface will fractionally reflect the light coming from either side of the pinched passageway emphasizing its direction as well as visually lengthening it. There are more reasons why the interstice is created in this manner; it is positioned in such a way that its ascent is directed at the most peculiar historic relic in the building; an old door made from massive steel that was taken by the Nazi’s from an old fort that is part of the historic Dutch defensive waterline, for a reason that is still unknown. Another reason for the zig-zag movement it entails is to make people aware that they are crossing through a massive concrete wall, and not just a corridor of any kind. On top of that, the effective thickness of the wall is extended by traversing it diagonally further amplifies its spatial character. Having its own main entrance, via what used to be an emergency exit, the route through this exhibition basement has been designed in such a way that it results in a natural flow through space, underscoring its architectural features. The remaining relics will offer the red line for the main sequence alongside which numerous displays, photographs, letters and other artefacts that illustratively tell Diogenes’ life story. As in the concept of ‘ma’ (see the eponymous paragraph in the chapter on Space) it is the space in between the showcased historical pieces that show the genuine bunker. In order to employ this concept, the exhibited artefacts are placed spaciously relative to each other in a way you might not expect in a ‘real’ museum, which further underlines that this building was never initially intended, let alone designed, for such a function. A special space in the basement, which can be found at its west end, is a sanctum that connects the subterranean part to the main new use of the bunker, but also holds a function in relation to this historic part. The old shafts that originally serviced for supplying fresh air and funnelling of exhaust fumes, through some minute interventions, now become a chapel of commemoration and reminiscing.



Returning As the initial intention may have well been, leaving Diogenes happens in a state that is different from the one when we first came to the place. Whether this is in regard to a spiritual state of mind, the sense of tranquility, philosophically or purely the (architectural) experience might not be that important. Either way, as a means of transition, a concluding route is offered to those who return homeward. This interstitial phase between the ‘refuge in the forest’ and the ‘bustling yonder world’ is envisioned as a ritual journey during which the freshly gained experiences can settle in both mind and body. During a closure stroll (which is conceived as an intrinsic potential aspect of the bunker’s new use) through the easeful natural environment of National Park de Hoge Veluwe we can rehabituate to what awaits in familiar everyday life. This is comparable to what Thomas Barrie describes as the final part of the hero’s journey; “The myth of the spiritual quest is characterized by the dual process of retreat from and then return to the world. According to Campbell the pilgrim retreats from the world scene of secondary effects to those causal zones of the psyche where the difficulties really exist…His second solemn task and deed therefore…is to return then to us, transfigured, and to teach the lesson he has learned of life renewed. The hero’s journey is characterized by the sequence of ‘separation, initiation, and return’, in which the pilgrim experiences a rite of passage and emerges, in most cases, spiritually transformed.“58 For the significance of this part it was possible for me to again draw from my personal experience of the retraite at Abbey Saint Benedict. Namely after spending a few days in the monastery I was reluctant to go back to the ‘vulgar world’ again. As a transition, I then took a long walk in the natural surroundings, through the tranquil forests and across the serene hills, before returning home. 58

Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, Boston (1996), pp. 21


Atmospheric impression of what a meditation pavilion might look like – Ilkka Halso


Nature Pavilions In order to further incorporate the beautiful natural surroundings of National Park ‘de Hoge Veluwe’ into the envisioned total symbiotic scheme, several routes walking/cycling routes spring from the bunker’s precinct out into the embracing nature. The different paths vary in length and character as they run along and through the widely varying types of landscape. Ranging from the thick and enclosing darker forest areas to the widely opened panoramic plains of sand or the endlessly sloping hills covered in long grasses and heath, the extensive nature offers a diverse set of natural atmospheres. Along the different routes, pavilions are constructed which can be used for gatherings, meditation, resting place, studio or any other use of such kind. The architecture of these pavilions might coincide with the atmosphere of the chosen route or it may complement it. Obscured introverted pavilions aimed at the inner spirit while light and open ones engage in relations with nature. This realizes more thorough entanglement of building and context (i.e. culture and nature) whereas they are now, and have been so since its original construction, totally separated, cut off from each other by 3,5 meters of concrete. “Often, Shinto shrines are located in natural surroundings where the path becomes a journey into the landscape.”59


Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, (Boston 1996), pp. 84


An envisioned ‘empty space’ in the bunker, created by the extraction of the third storey floor and walls from the underlying second floor. The ‘hanging walls’ are suspended from the upper walls and roof by means of slender tensile bars. 167

Space “The best way to fill a space is to leave it empty” Conceptions of space Space is substance. Cézanne painted and modelled space. Giacometti sculpted by ‘taking the fat off space’. Mallarmé conceived poems with absences as well as words. Ralph Richardson asserted that acting lay in pauses. ‘I collect silences’, said Heinrich Boll […] Isaac Stern described music as ‘that little bit between each note – silences which give the form’. Frank Kafka warned that ‘[…] Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence … someone might possibly have escaped from their singing, but from their silence, certainly never.’ [...] The Japanese have ‘ma’; a word for this interval which gives shape to the whole. In the West we have neither word nor term. A serious omission.60 ‘Space’ – its simple denomination in fact says it all. A word we (as architects) are so used to bandy without having a clear understanding of, or paying general concern to, what it should actually imply. Empty space, is not so much to be considered a vacuum, within which nothing is to be found, but rather as a void filled with chance, opportunity and possibilities. This theorem supports what American geographer Yi-fu Tuan once stated: “Space is abstract. It lacks content; it is broad, open and empty, inviting the imagination to fill it with substance and illusion; it is possibility and beckoning future.” The fact that the vision behind the design, and the method with which it is executed, is successful in achieving such a conception of space was strikingly ascertained when, friend 60

Alan Fletcher, The art of looking sideways, London (2001), pp. 370


and architect, Uri Ben-Ari commented on what he saw when I first showed him some atmospheric renders of the design; “The image is stirring, and if I understand correctly, entails a delicate removal of walls and other matter which leaves space for light and imagination to filter through.” The design of this project, due to the nature of the building and the developed approach, furthermore employs conceptions of space, time and meaning that are different to the ways in which they are normally considered in Western architecture. “…there are distinctions between Occidental and Asian conceptions of space. In the West, space is seen typically as the area between objects and as the negative of physical objects; in Asia, space is an entity in itself, and in Japan it is called ‘Ma’. As we will see, the Japanese create architectural space in ways similar to that of the West, but their perception of space occupies a broader context, one of which is its perception as a positive entity in the physical environment. Overall, I will stress a space-positive view of architecture, where, to quote Steen Eiler Rasmussen, ‘The architect can work with the empty space -the cavitybetween the solids, and consider the forming of that space as the real meaning of architecture.’”61 A striking description of space as a positive entity is the poem on empty space by Lao Tse. After reading it, one can begin imagining how this affects our idea of whether architecture is about the physical building or the space it encompasses, and the many possibilities that lay in it.


Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, Boston (1996), pp. 46


“Thirty spokes meet in the hub, but the empty space between them is the essence of the wheel. Pots are formed from clay, but the empty space between it is the essence of the pot. Walls with windows and doors form the house, but the empty space within it is the essence of the house.”62 In conclusion, an effluent approach might entail imagining space as more than just a dimensioned void, bounded by walls. It is a space-time continuum in which meaning is transitory. Emptiness “Form is emptiness; emptiness is form”63 Space can embody the most when it contains the least. When space is empty and abstract it demands of us to use our imagination to the fullest. It is important in this case not to confuse emptiness with nothingness. Then, on a philosophical level, what is the meaning of emptiness for architecture? Let’s look at a simple room, when is it empty? We usually say that a room is empty when 62

Alan Fletcher, The art of looking sideways, London (2001), pp. 369, original text; Lao Tse, Tao te ching, chapter 11 63 Supreme mantra originating from the Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra, commonly known as the Heart Sutra, which contains the philosophical essence of about six hundred scrolls making up the Maha Prajna Paramita.


nothing or no one is in it, when it is devoid of objects or people and contains no furniture. This is the ordinary meaning of emptiness. But, is the room really empty? A room empty of objects, people and furniture is still full of air. To be precise, we must therefore state what the room is empty of. Can a room be empty of all substance? A room in a vacuum does not contain any air, but it still contains space, light, radiation, as well as its own substance. Hence, from a physical point of view, the room is always full of something. Yet, from a Buddhist point of view, the room is always empty. “The Buddhist understanding of emptiness is different from the physical meaning.”64 The room being empty means that it is devoid of inherent existence. Non-inherent, or non-immanent, existence is not to say that the room does not ultimately exist. It exists, but like everything else in this world, its existence (or meaning) depends on other phenomena. There is nothing in a room that is inherent to that specific room or rooms in general. Properties such as being hollow, rectangular, watertight or spatially bounding are not intrinsic to rooms. Other objects, which are not rooms, have similar properties, as for example boxes or cases. The room’s properties and components are neither rooms themselves nor do they imply ‘roomness’ on their own. The material is not the room. The shape is not the room. The function is not the room. Only all these aspects together make up the room. Hence, we can say that for something to be a room we require a collection of specific conditions to exist. It depends on the combination of, inter alia, function, use, shape, base material, and the room’s other aspects. Only if all these conditions exist simultaneously does the mind impute ‘roomness’ to the phenomenon. If one condition ceases to exist, for instance, if its hollowness is altered by pouring concrete into it, the room forfeits some or all of its ‘roomness’, because the its function and shape, as well as the imputation of ‘roomness’ through perception is disrupted. The room’s existence thus depends on external circumstances. Its physical essence remains elusive. 64



This theory is practically the antithesis to Plato’s idealism, which holds that there is an ideal essence of everything, e.g. rooms, tables, houses, humans, and so on. This approach however could possibly assent with the assumption that the essence of rooms ultimately exists in the realm of the mind. After all, it is the mind that perceives properties of an object and imputes ‘roomness’ onto one object and ‘tableness’ onto another. It is the mind that thinks ‘room’ and ‘table’. But this does not mean that the mind is responsible for the existence of these objects. Apparently, the mind does not perceive rooms and tables if there is no visual and tactile sensation. And, there cannot be visual and tactile sensation if there is no physical object. “The perception thus depends on the presence of sensations, which in turn relies on the presence of the physical object. This is to say that the room’s essence is not in the mind, and is neither to be found in the physical object. Its essence seems to be neither physical nor mental.”65 Objects of perception seem to be devoid of inherent existence, while their essence seems to be in the relation to other objects or perceivers. As the void within the room is often referred to as space, space is itself the emptiness and the bearer of its qualities and potential. It is in the many possible relations to the objects within and the people making use of it that are essential for imputing it with meaning and imbuing it with value. Ma & Kaiwai “Voids are spaces waiting to be filled with our imagination – Space is never empty”66 During a visit to Japan in 1969, Fred Thompson began to ponder questions on the civic spaces - he was so used to seeing in the West - that the land of the rising sun seemed to 65

Ibid.; this disquisition overall largely offered the philosophical framework for this architectural interpretation of emptiness 66 Marianne Bernstein, The Playhouse / Not a vacant lot, Philadelphia (2011)


The Japanese symbol for ‘ma’


lack. It was only after his retirement in 1981 that he found the answers to his puzzledness, when he was invited by professor Kojiro Yuichiro to take part in a number of festivals in the Akita prefecture. Professor Itoh Teiji had before drawn his attention to the fact that a public place, and moreover space in general, is rarely conceived of as hard bordered, but rather as kaiwai, or activity space. Thompson would soon find out that (the meaning of) public space would arise to exist as a function of the festival. The most profound revelation occurred when he took part in a Shinto festival in the small village of Shiraiwa, which lies in between a sacred mountain and an expansive agricultural field. “In the kami-mukae, or receiving of the deities, a shaman, having purified himself for a certain period by eating only special foods, goes to the mountains to receive the kami and bring them back to the mountain shrine, after which they are transferred to a portable shrine and carried down the mountain to the village shrine to be celebrated by the villagers. The portable shrine is then carried through the village to entertain the gods, and brought to rest in the fields at the temporary field shrine to spread the energy of the kami and encourage a beautiful harvest. After the harvest in autumn, the gods are thanked at the festival of kami-okuri and returned to their abode in the mountains.”67 This is one of the numerous Buddhist and Shinto festivals that enliven the spaces of Shiraiwa by reinvesting them with sacred significance: “space and time become one and the same through participation in the festival. As time is suspended, public space adopts its own form irrespective of its workaday uses.”68 The anecdotic description of the experienced festivals in Japan elaborates on the mercurial meaning of, in this case public, space. It shows how, during a certain period, the mode of

67 68

Fred Thompson, Japanese mountain deities, New York (1997), pp. 79 Ibid., pp.80


use can temporarily ascribe new meaning to space whose ordinary significance is anything but special, let alone divine. Kaiwai “An emptiness, a void, a free space is an essential condition to get in touch with the everrenewing energy of creation”69 Through his experiences of the Buddhist and Shinto festivals Fred Thompson began to see how the Japanese might think of physical space, through the way of everyday activity and the way of the festival as a fluctuation of spaces which are defined by their activities rather than their visual order; “Kaiwai, or ‘activity space’, unlike the visually defined spaces of the West, is an amorphous sense of space which changes with the activities of its users and their intentions. Kaiwai which takes one form during the day, might take on another at night. The change in patter, however, is most noticeable through the recovery of Shinto myths and rituals.”70 During the numerous festivals, the street is not merely a corridor of vehicular of pedestrian traffic but becomes a connector of private and social space. It transcends to a spatial mode of social integration that is characterised by a layering of function and experience of which the basis and culmination is the experience of matsuri during which the environment is charged and infused with mystical energy of the kami. In this, the streets are the public spaces rather than a central square because the Japanese perceive street and private spaces as a part of an integral space-time continuum, or ‘ma’. They think of life as a process of ebb and flow and not so much as a series of consecutive events; “it changes

69 70

Franz Nahrada, Monasteries of the future, TEDxPannonia Sopron (2011) Fred Thompson, Japanese mountain deities, New York (1997), pp. 82


metamorphically just as nature does from season to season, age to age, birth to death, in endless rhythms of renewal.”71 Ma “The aim of Ma is to create opportunities”72 The key to ultimately understand, and grasp the full potential of, this Japanese conception of space, is in the notion of this continuum; “Japanese ma, or space time, is not fragmented, labeled and contained like space in the West, but rather an emptiness or void that gains its form only in relation to unseen boundaries created by the activities performed in it.”73 Architects consider ma as a sort of spatial current that combines spacing and timing as a constant flow of possibilities in which a tension between things allow for different patterns of interpretation; (see how this is related to the Deleuzian concept of (de/re)territorialisation in the eponymous paragraph of the chapter on Meaning) “A Japanese room, for instance, can be used simultaneously for living, sleeping and eating and is called an eight mat ma. Or, the context of a space might change from a study to one for a tea ceremony by the addition of a flower arrangement. These artifacts are, to use the etymology of the word ‘symbol’, a ‘bringing together’ of the space with the utensils, giving the spatial current its temporary form. Like the form of a stream, the form of spaces in a house is the result of process patterns. In fact, Kikutake Kiyonori has said that form is not merely the visible delineation of space but is rather the total consideration of space with its function. Ma is constantly awaiting or undergoing transformation by the availability of 71

Ibid., pp.82 Arata Isozaki, Architecture 1960-1990, New York (1991) 73 Fred Thompson, Japanese mountain deities, New York (1997), pp. 82 72


Arata Isozaki’s installation of ‘Ma: Space-Time in Japan” at the Festival d’Automne in Paris, 1978 177

physical components and potential uses. Kikutake, like Itoh Teiji, is recognizing process patters rather than objects.”74 In continuing his story , Fred Thompson’s elucidates the significance of ma through the astonishingly beautiful example of how void can be, locatively in both time and place, bursting with meaning and imbued with special significance in his description of the manifestation of ‘ki ’; “The interval of Shinto is closely bound to the intervals of nature which cause fields to yield the harvest and then to lie in fallow. The Shinto deities are invited for the season of fertility, production and harvest to an impermanent resting place in the fields. This temporary resting place for the deities might be symbolised by a straw rope hung between four bamboo saplings set up in a rice field. While the deities are invisible, the way of formalizing and experiencing their presence is postulated by the temporary preparation of a space for the gods to visit. The void in the rice field created by these four saplings (or symbols) is then filled with the spiritual form of the deities called ki. The presence of this spiritual form spreads transforms the fields, temporarily, from a profane place for growing rice to a sacred place for the deities to rest. The sense of ma here, too, is therefore indefinite and temporary, like that of the eight-mat room which can be transformed by sliding doors and the addition of various accoutrements to take on one form after another.”75 In conclusion one could state that this conception of space entangles it with time to form a continuum in which anything seems to be temporary, focusing on adaptive use through time rather than a physically delineated object in a fixed state. Space and time are in Japan not experienced as objective detached observers, but are involved to the fullest. And as Itoh Teiji points out; “Sequential spaces may be understood as a distribution of memories 74 75

Ibid., pp.83 Ibid., pp.83


of the experience, noting that the content of memory includes not only the beauty of physical space, but also the story, or legend concerning the elements along the path.”76 Isozaki, in his tenacious efforts, further underlined just how hard it is to describe the concept of ma - or the interstice that is both temporal and spatial – when he at some point concluded; “the Japanese concept of a time-space continuum, conceives of time and space not as absolute measurable entities’, as the West think of them, but ‘essentially as a void, defined only by the movements and events that take place within it. Space and time are not two distinct entities, but two interrelated dimensions.”77 In adopting this Japanese conception, architecture is in the course of this project not merely approached in the spatial dimension, but conceived of in temporal terms as well. And followingly not only focuses on a fixed image of a certain aesthetic, room or intended function but on a much wider and shifting conception of temporal space and use, and the inter-transitions themselves; “The ma is an empty interval, which guarantees the mutual ontological presence of both elements. The emphasis on the object is less than on the intermediate surrounding, which is temporal and spatial: temporal as a silent interval between two tense acts or expressions, and spatial as a space in-between different zones [..] It allows spiritual motions, contemplation, sophisticated thought and imagination. In architectural terms, it also allows an endless, multiple collaging mode of composition and spatial organization.”78


Itoh Teiji, unpublished manuscript, The Japanese Approach to Urban Space, Tokyo (1973), pp.109 Kathe Geist, West looks East, New York (1983) Art Journal 43, pp.234 78 Pham T. Hien, Abstraction and Transcendence: Nature, Shintai and Geometry in the architecture of Tadao Ando, Cincinnati (1998) pp.153 77


時間=時+間 Time = chronos (Greek) +


空間=空+間 Space = void +


Arata Isozaki’s attempt to expound the implication of ‘ma’ in a Western conception of disentangled time and space79


Arata Isozaki, Japan-ness in Architecture, Cambridge (2006) pp.94


The cautious act of calligraphy


Rituals “When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things” – Muriel Barbery Meaning to life The importance of ritual in both life and architecture was underlined by the renowned architectural historian Spiro Kostof when he stated that, “architecture at its best aspires to be…a setting for the ritual that makes of each user, for a brief moment, a larger person than he or she is in daily life, filling each one with the pride of belonging.”80 His assertion is significant within the context of this project in twofold; it emphasizes the elevating effect on the human spirit and it stresses the important role that architecture plays in accommodating such an event. That Kostof is not alone in this belief becomes manifest when reading Thomas Barrie’s elaboration of evidently identical themes; “The sacred place is today, as in the past, a setting for ritual observances, a symbolic narrative facilitated by the architectural setting of the path and place. “A ritual is an enactment of a myth,” Joseph Campbell points out. “By participating in a ritual, you are participating in a myth.” Through ritual, one is able to approach and perhaps commune with the divine. Often it provides the means for a transcendent experience. Ritual, to be effective, needs to be performed within a sacred setting, whether it is a simply demarcated space or an immense temple. Without this sacred setting, the ritual has no context and thus loses its meaning.”81 80 81

Spiro Kostof, A history of architecture: settings and rituals, New York (1985) Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, (Boston 1996), pp. 73


‘Wa’ (harmony) This word connotes a feeling of oneness with nature and people. At a tea gathering, harmony plays between host and guest, guest and guest, mood and season, the food served and the utensils used. Sensitivity to the changing rhythms of the seasons, and harmony with these changes are once source of ever deepening pleasure in the practice of Tea. The unpredictable nature of weather is an integral part of a tea gathering and is not to be shut out, ignored, or considered inconvenient. This harmony with nature quietly leads one to an understanding of the evanescence of all things and the unchanging in the changing.6

‘Kei’ Kei’ (respect) Respect results naturally from a feeling of gratitude. Respect is extended not only to the other people with whom one interacts but also to one’s daily life, and even to inanimate objects, such as utensils as a product of human effort or whatever has come into existence. The etiquette observed in the tearoom helps a student of Tea to learn to apply the principle of kei. To the uninitiated what may appear at first as excessively strict and formal is in actuality a means of incorporating, internalizing the spirit of respect. The hospitality of the host, the concern of the guests for each other and the host, and the careful handling of the utensils exemplify this respect.6


‘Sei’ Sei’ (purity) Cleanliness and orderliness, in both the physical and spiritual sense, are a very important part of the study of Tea. Rikyu must have learned the importance of simple acts of cleaning in his study of Zen. Even the most mundane acts—washing dishes or cleaning floors—are the seeds of enlightenment. In the words of a man of eighthcentury China, “How wondrous this, how mysterious! I carry fuel, I draw water.” When the host cleans the tea utensils, he or she is simultaneously purifying heart and mind through total concentration on this task. The guests, before entering the tearoom, pass along a garden path and rinse their hands and wash out their mouths at the low stone water-basin, thereby purifying themselves of the “dust” of the everyday world outside the tearoom. Sei also implies simplification, that is, the elimination of all unnecessary elements. The appearance of the garden path and tearoom are examples of this kind of simplicity.6


‘Jaku’ (tranquility) It is often remarked in the practice of Tea that, although a person can work towards attaining the first three principles, the last cannot be attained by direct effort. However through a constant practice of harmony, respect and purity, a person whose heart inclines towards Tea is prepared to approach the utter stillness and silence of jaku. This tranquility is far from a dreamy psychological state. Instead it is the dynamic force of one’s innermost being that infuses the practice of Tea and gives significance to the tea gathering, similar to the words of one of Sen Rikyu’s predecessors, “be heart’s master, not heart mastered.”82



While this particular quote focuses on the sacred ritual, there are also an enormous number of profane rituals we perform for completely different and varying reasons. As stated in the chapter on ‘Attention’ the great importance of rituals lies in the greater devotion we employ in performing them, which brings us great satisfaction and teaches us to value all kinds of other ordinary day-to-day things much higher as well. They can be moments of rest and tranquility or actions in which we completely focus on what we do in that particular moment at that particular place. In short, a ritual is an operation we perform in utter awareness and is grafted on that fact itself. It is fundamentally different from how we normally describe our ordinary activities as ‘a means to an end’, and you could say that with rituals ‘the mean is the end’. In a similar sense it would conjoin very well with the thought that in its course of action ‘it is about the journey, not the destination’, to which should probably be added that ‘the journey is the destination’. Calligraphy is a great example of just this; it is meant as an act to be performed with great care and focus, it is not the intention to end up with a vast text. Kas Stuy emphasizes this consciousness of mind when performing rituals; “People ascribe high value to rituals, it is something we can vividly recall, it is more often a beginning than a solution.” Rituals are often guided by meticulously defined rules. In the West this is often thought of as a restriction while on the contrary in the East, for instance Japan, they lead to liberation. The difference is in the understanding of these rules as guidelines rather than impediments. They precisely clarify what needs to be done and how each manoeuvre or handling is to be executed; this opens up the possibility to let oneself be guided through the entirety of procedures. You no longer need to be worried about the way in which the ritual is to be executed or that you might make a mistake as the rules guide you through the process. This ease effectuates a great tranquillity. From the Japanese ritual Chanoyu, or the way of tea, originate such guidelines, which have over centuries become embedded in, and pillars of, the national culture and social mores. 185

The sound of use In the modern World, due to constant gain of exuberant luxury our living environments have become overloaded with stimuli. And it is exactly because of this excess that we have actually lost quite a lot. For instance, one of the things that have changed is the way we relate to the things we do and the things we use. Because we are brought up in a society that is quite demanding and in which standards are high, and on top of that, the fact that we often try to fill our lives with as many things as possible, we are constantly required to ‘multi-task’ and do as many things as possible with an ever accelerating speed. This behavior asks for a multi-focus, which actually leads to the unfortunate situations in which we have to distribute our attention, and as a result, don’t pay adequate attention to any of the things we are doing. This is invigorated by the fact that we are often forced to act in environments that imposes on us a constant overload of stimuli and as a result also diverts our attention away from where we should actually lay our focus. In a great deal of these situations we owe it to ourselves that we disperse our focus; who hasn’t ever turned on the radio while reading the newspaper and talking to your partner while you alter your vision between the screens of the muted television and the smartphone you are texting a friend with or replying to an e-mail. Furthermore, by always having our earphones and listening to the music of our ipod’s and smartphones, we cut ourselves off from a lot of the sounds that result from, and audibly connect us to, the things we do. In doing so, a great valuable quality of our activities and daily lives is subsequently lost. For instance, anecdotal evidence suggests that listening to


A still from Chado (the way of tea) during in its execution. 187

oneself eating results in a more pleasurable eating experience.83 Maximising the sensory experience of eating can thus result in increased pleasure. In line with expectations this will probably prove to be true for a lot more general cases. This is probably one of the most important reasons why we enjoy silence so much; it enables us to hear. Teamaster Michel Decré further elaborated on the importance of sounds during chado (tea-ceremony) in the Kwan Yin Zen center; “Chasitsu (tea room) are generally obscure, dimly lit space of which the walls carry a sober colour, often plastered with a dark loam. To further insure the aspired intimacy of the ceremony, the interior of the Chasitsu is in general solely reached by the permeating sunlight that is diffused by the intervening rice paper of the shoji (traditional wooden latticed sliding door).” Except for means of creating an intimate atmosphere, this preclusion of light is in favor of our auditory senses as it limits the capability of our visual perception. In the further course of the ceremony, and its accompanying rituals, the importance of sounds becomes even clearer. During chadō (teaceremony) it is of grave importance after the chasen (bamboo tea whisk) has been used to purify it in the chawan (tea bowl) or to whisk the tea, that the instrument is gently dropped back into the bowl in a specific way so that the jiku (part of the whisk where one holds it) lightly falls on the edge of the bowl, making a very distinct sound. The thud produced a deep, though somewhat hollow, dry sound. The sound is recognizable even though every tea utensil is often a unique one-of-a-kind piece of varying size, weight and materials, and the chasitsu itself can have very different shapes, heights and finishes.




With the information of the sober architectural setting - concerning light and materials as explained in the previous paragraph – in the back of our head, and the knowledge that tea ceremonies can easily last up to 4 hours and thus extend into the darker hours of the day, you can imagine that it becoming quite dark in the chasitsu. This stresses the importance of how we then need to employ our senses, other than sight, in order to get a good experience of the ceremony and space. The sounds of the temae (ritual handlings) enables one to follow the ceremony, even when blind or in complete darkness, and get a better apprehension of the space through its acoustics. This conjoint evocation of the senses elevates the tea-ceremony to a synesthetic experience.


CrossCross-religious religious examples examples Ablution There are numerous rituals that appear to be abided to by every religion, the most generally accepted is likely to be ablution, or ritual purification. Many temples, churches and other sanctums of such kind often comprise a special room, antechamber or other provision designated for ablution. “Water often possesses strong symbolic content in religion, and the practice of ablution is a ritual that is shared by all of the world religions. In the Shinto faith, ritual purification is performed by washing one’s hands and rinsing out the mouth at the water trough located at the entrance to the shrine. Zen Buddhist temples and teahouses also have places for ritual ablution. Christianity has a similar practice centering around the font of holy water in the narthex of the church. Islam is distinguished, in part, by its ritual acts of ablution before one enters the mosque…Ablution is common at Hindu temples as well” 84 This ritual purification has manifold explanations and is executed for various reasons and in different ways. Most commonly it is described as the cleansing of both body and mind. In other cases, it is sometimes also described as a way to get rid of any possible sins. For most religions it is the case that the ablution ritual is described in their holy scriptures. The precise prescriptions and regulations however may vary, as for some religions or spiritual groups it is absolutely mandatory to purify oneself before even entering a sacred precinct or temple, while in other cases ablution is only desired for special ceremonial occasions or for certain important priests.


Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, (Boston 1996), pp. 74



The exact execution of the ritual may widely differ as well, even within a religion. In Shinto, a simple cleansing of the hands and rinsing of the mouth is sufficient before entering a shrine (Shinto temple for kami, or diety) while elaborate and repeated misogi (Japanese mountain ascetic practice of ritual purification) is considered a necessity for spiritual growth. The Islamic faith prescribes the elaborate cleansing of face, hands and feet. For example, the Bible reads; “And he set the laver between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet.... as the Lord commanded Moses”85 “Then Davd arose from the earth, and washed, and annointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord, and worshipped”86 “Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple”87 The Quran is also distinctively clear on ablution; “Allah’s messenger (may peace be upon him) said: When a bondsman - a Muslim or a believer - washes his face (in course of ablution), every sin he contemplated with his eyes will be washed away from his face along with water, or with the last drop of water ; when he washes his hands, every sin they wrought will be effaced from his hands with the water, or with the last drop of water; and when he washes his feet, every sin towards which his feet have walked will be washed away with the water, or with the last drop of water, with the result that he comes out pure from all sins.”88


Exodus 40:30-1 2 Samuel 12:20 87 Acts 21:26 88 Book 002, Hadith 0475 86




Pilgrimage in Jerusalem to the Church of the Holy Sepulchur 195

Pilgrimage Joseph Campbell coined the term ‘hero’s journey’ as the predecessor of the spiritual quest that is pilgrimage.89 It involves a spiritual journey in which the heroes, through circumstances sometimes beyond their control, are called to begin their quest. The hero departs, passes through a number of trials, attains the goal or destination, and returns spiritually transformed. Campbell further describes it as a process in which the familiar is abandoned and the unknown entered, either willingly or not. He defines the hero simply as one who gives his life over to something bigger than himself.90 The quest is further characterised by the dual process of retreat from and then return to the world; “from the world scene of secondary effects to those causal zones of the psyche where the difficulties really exist […] His second solemn task and deed therefore […] is to return to us, transfigured, and to teach the lesson he has learned of life renewed.”91 The hero’s journey is characterised by the sequence of “separation, initiation, and return”92 in which the pilgrim experiences a rite of passage and emerges, in most cases, spiritually transformed. According to Mircea Eliade, in traditional societies if a man or woman is to become ‘complete,’ they must be born a second time. “Access to spiritual life always entails death to the profane condition, followed by a new birth”93 Pilgrimage is a re-enactment of the myth of the hero’s journey, a ritual that references the spiritual path, found in almost every religion. The divinised figure that occupies the position of hero is interchangeable between different religions and spiritualities. Also the precise 89

Joseph Campbell, The power of myth, New York (1988), pp. 123 Joseph Campbell, The hero with a thousand faces, Princeton (1949) 91 Ibid., pp. 17, 20 92 Ibid., pp. 30 93 Mircea Eliade, The sacred and the profane: the nature of religion, New York (1959), pp. 201 90



events and proceedings that happened along the way differ from each other. However, since the main stages of the journey are very similar, the thematic rituals that echo from it, and enable its re-enactment, are comparable as well. “The rite of pilgrimage, analogous to the spiritual journey, is found in all the world’s major religions. Moreover, the characteristics that define the act of pilgrimage are strikingly consistent with among all the faiths […] Most religious pilgrimage, similar to the hero’s journey, shares the following characteristics: spiritual preparation for the journey; separating from one’s society and everyday life; trials and rituals along the pilgrim’s way; arrival at the sacred place; and the return in a changed state.”94


Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, (Boston 1996), pp. 27


Islam might hold the most profound example of pilgrimage, as every year, millions of Muslims take part in the ‘Hajj’ which culminates in a mass circumference centered on the Kaaba 199

Muslim pilgrimage in Moscow; Eid ul-Fitr 200



“Ruimte maken, ruimte laten” – Herman Hertzberger Authenticity Value is not automatically implied by the factual state of something being authentic. When looking at conversion projects, authorities concerned with heritage are often solely occupied with the question whether something is genuinely old. Operating at an elemental level, focus of the bigger whole is lost, and with the, the relation between the different parts and scales. When dealing with the conversion or (historically) sensitive redesign of existing buildings, authenticity is merely a possible quality that is applicable within the total considerable framework of values. Authenticity does not equal value, nor is it an immanent quality. It is but one of the many possible types of value, which implies that value itself can take on many forms, and that form is not by definition authenticity. Accordingly, it could be stated there also exists ‘worthless’ authenticity, or at least a gradation of it. Authenticity only becomes valuable from the moment it is placed in a certain context in which it can relate to other aspects, and in that way allow it to tell a (historical) story it is itself part of. However, while not every story is equally significant, its value indicates the quality of the relational network. Value Heated discussions are taking place in Florence, where specialists have reasons to believe that behind a wall of Palazzo Vecchio, containing a fresco of renowned artist Giorgio Vasari, an even bigger treasure is hidden. Documents dating back to the early sixteenth century, contain evidence that Vasari had been commissioned to paint over an earlier fresco by historical superstar Leonardo Da Vinci called ‘The battle of Anghiari’. However, since Vasari 201

is known as a huge admirer of Da Vinci and references in old documents about wood being purchased in order to possibly salvage the original fresco, could point to the contingent fact that Leonardo’s work is still located behind Vasari’s later fresco. The words “cerca trova” – “seek and you shall find” – painted on the (covering) fresco by Vasari, provide another tantalizing clue that there might be more to it than meets the eye. Furthermore, an earlier work by Vasari, opposite the suspected location of the Da Vinci fresco, is alleged to feature copied figures of ‘The Battle of Anghiari’, as Vasari would have looked over his shoulder during his work on the mural, to borrow from Leonardo’s work, which was still uncovered at the time. Two opposing convictions are now involved in their own battle as the one pleads for the uncovering of Da Vinci’s fresco, while the other strongly abides to the work by Vasari and aims to prevent its demolition. It seems the two parties will never reach an understanding as they clash in their opinions on what is most valuable. This anecdote shows just how hard, and maybe even impossible, to conclusively decide what value is and what is possibly more valuable than something else. Especially when historical values are involved this can lead to insurmountable impasses causing conversion projects to a halt, with possible severe architectural, and with that cultural historical, consequences as described in the chapter ‘On Preservation’ of the previous booklet.95 When I asked restoration specialist Maarten Fritz how to convince other parties in such difficult situations of opposing views, he answered, “Some people drink tea when having breakfast, others drink coffee. They will probably also never agree what is best, but maybe it is not necessary they will, sometimes you just need to let it be.”


John Schneijderberg, Distilling Architecture – Preliminary Research, Eindhoven (2011), pp. 35


Scientist investigate the Vasari fresco in their search for the allegedly underlying ‘Lost Da Vinci’


Although this reply was anything but a conclusive answer, it does expose the problems that often occur in conversion projects. Perhaps it would in such cases make sense to make a more balanced consideration of the total integral architectonic value of a building, which also incorporates aspects of the building’s past, instead of creating a mere inventory of historically authentic material. Conservative historic authorities should expand their scope of turning every monument into a museum or placing every authentic element in a showcase; old buildings should be addressed as total architectural entities, and not isolate every single element for appraisal as its true meaning lies in its relation to the whole. It (regrettably enough) seems understandable that when we consider old buildings we lapse into a perspective that solely considers its past and seemingly ignores any of its other qualities. Why is it that when a building receives the predicate ‘monument’, its valuespectrum becomes so enormously limited and confined? What happens to the appreciation of its architectural values? And why does this so often entail an embargo on its potentials for the future? What if the value-spectrum would be freed from a mere historical perspective, dictated by monument related dogmas, and instead be expanded, via the present, with the future. What kind of possibilities would then arise that create new valuable opportunities for the future, instead of attemptively restoring old ones in pastiche replicas. In short, I would reckon that a building’s valuable meaning, or meaningful value, will always be related to its use instead of to its mere (historically authentic) material appearance, as its value is in the relation between the building and its users. Such an approach appears to offer a far more sustainable perspective as it searches for ways in which the existent old can be meaningful to the future, possibly by being in harmonic contrast to it.


A body without organs; a plunger becomes an i-pad standard


Use “Architecture begins, where functions ends” – Sir Edwin Landseer Luyten “I like to see how far architecture can pursue function and then after the pursuit has been made, see how far architecture can be removed from function. The significance of architecture is found in the distance between it and function.” 96 – Tadao Ando This project, which could be considered as belonging to the conversion spectrum, has during the design process not so much set itself the target of imposing a new function onto an existing building, but rather investigated a type of use that is derived from the physical psychological identity of the structure itself. What is so special to the architectural creative process is that the object that results from it is factually the solidification of the underlying ideas and thought structure. It is however also the case that from the moment the solidified idea is released, the object attains more multilateral meanings on top of the one(s) in its more narrow significance as foreseen by its creator. Presumably there is quite some ground to be gained here for architecture; we should get rid of conceptions that assume everything is, and remains, the way we dogmatically impose it to be. In light of the highly dynamic and ever-changing contexts, created by our multilateral synthetic society, it may even be impossible to conclusively determine what an object’s meaning or value might me. At most one might describe what he/she finds the meaning or value of the object at a certain moment in a certain context.97


Kenneth Frampton, Tadao Ando: Buildings Projects Writings, (New York 1984) pp 8 Following the statement by Jacob Voorthuis, “form follows only those functions that I find important right now and only in the way that I want them to” in; Jacob Voorthuis, An aesthetics of generosity, in


Adaptables: when things around us start moving, Voorthuis.net (2009) pp. 2 206

Intended functions remain unengaged, while unintended uses arise in autonomously


We should therefore maybe not try to pre-impose what something is, but rather make a suggestion of what it can be; to describe it in a more paradigmatic sense and also recognize it as such. Body without organs According to Gilles Deleuze en Félix Guattari every object, whether it is a chair, room, a building or - in their often preferred example - an egg, has an ‘actual body’, a term that can be explained most bluntly as the generally accepted appearance of the object as commonly adopted by men. But an object can have (read; has) much more meanings or possible uses that just what was envisioned. The two philosophers describe this capacity to have a much broader meaning as the ‘virtual dimension’ of the ‘actual body’. In different contexts and in relation to other bodies, the ‘virtual potentials’ are activated, or actualized, by which the body is imbued with a different meaning in every instance.98 A striking example of this is the so called ‘museum of unintended use’; an online opensource collection of objects that are used in a manner that was originally not intended, or stated differently; actual bodies whose virtual dimensions were otherwise employed. As this goes for objects, one can imagine what this might mean for spaces, buildings and architecture in general. They may very well be suited for many other purposes than initially intended, it just depends on the perspective we take and how we envision its potential traits, connections, affects and movements. An interesting exemplary case may be the designed youth hangouts that in practice often prove to be unsuccessful as they are not used by their target group, who on the contrary successfully adopt (territorialise) other unintended places and objects as their hangouts.


Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, London (2004)


Toshihiko Suzuki’s mobile tatami; a case to (re)territorialise any desired place into a chado space


Territorialisation As elaborately explained before, the act of territorialisation implies the (mentally) breaking down of existing networks of meanings, values and relations which opens up the way for new interpretations of objects and spaces in order to re-value them and assigning them with new meanings i.e. reterritorialisation. This frees the objects from their ‘actual bodies’ and expands their importance as it pluralises their significance. It moves away from a rigid imposed hierarchical context, which aims at confining objects to discrete categories with singular coded identities or meanings. Instead they propose a rhizomatic zone of multiplicity in which fluctuant identities create free-flowing meanings which results in a dynamic milieu of interconnections and ephemeral liminal zones. In the idiosyncratic nature of use itself lays this increased value of territorialisation. With religious and spiritual functions there is an intense and intimate personal relation between man and place so that it is not just the degree of experience, but moreover empathy and identification between the two, that is of increased importance. Territorialisation of this kind can therefore have a real significance, ranging from very simple means and short ceremonies to elaborate inaugurative rituals and long lasting settlements (such as Ise Jingu). So this act does not just provide for the short term, it is also on the long term that reterritorialisation can take place and have its effect, providing the space or objects with a more permanent character; “The archetypal act of marking sacred ground, first by very simple means, later by enclosing walls, marks the place where the divine and the human can interact in meaningful and portentous ways.”99


Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, (Boston 1996), pp. 84


Artist BjÜrn Bjarre’s project of an indoor karesansui which territorializes the of mental infinity 211

Spiritual territorialisation is a phenomenon of all times and can be traced back into the histories of all cultures and religions as Thomas Barrie shows; “The act of settling in a place was often mythologized as the creation of the world, and there were numerous rituals that served to take possession of a place. For example, in classical Greece a new city was consecrated by carrying the fire from the sacred hearth in Athens and kindling it in its own prytaneion. There was also the act of Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores claiming the New World in the name of Jesus Christ by planting a cross on the land, thus sacralizing it. The creation of a sacred place has principally provided the existential means for people to establish a center and thus define their place in the world.”100 The fact that nothing ever stays the same also goes for territories. The philosophers that first coined the term, knowing Deleuze and Guattari, also acknowledged this and formulated the antonym ‘deterritorialisation’. This embodies, in the broadest sense, the breaking down of existing structures and (historical) relationships in order to transform or reconstitute them into new forms.101 (de/re)Territorialisation is therefore a verb, of which the temporary territory is the adequate noun. The fleeting character is also a phenomenon which finds its particulate expression; “Early shrines were a simple clearing in the forest, marked, separated, and purified by a priest to prepare for the reception of the kami. Strips of paper, or linen, were tied to a sacred rope which was string from four bamboo poles set in the ground. This marked a sacred space for the temporary presence of a deity, which early Shinto rituals called to the earth.”102 room into a space 100

Ibid. pp. 53 Paul Patton, Deleuzian Concepts: philosophy, colonization, politics, Chicago (2010), pp. 155 102 Thomas Barrie, Spiritual path, sacred place, (Boston 1996), pp. 80 101


An envisioned proposal and example of how incredibly volatile the act of territorialisation might be: Lord Vishnu chalked on Diogenes’ bare concrete wall. A small breeze may well start its gradual autonomous deterritorialisation 213

Natural & Spiritual seasons For Diogenes one can imagine how the dynamic act of (de/re)territorialisation can further contribute to the omnipresent and inescapable transient nature of all things, as a topic that this project wishes to expose. In combination with the evanescent character of the (physical) man-made and natural world, the different religious calendars, or ‘spiritual seasons’, that will manifest themselves during the new use of the bunker, create an ever-changing frame of appearances, meanings and values. For different terms and on various levels this can have many possible results; Exterior, short term: The bunker gradually transforms its outer appearance along with its (direct) environment as it performs its seasonal rituals. The shifts in outer conditions will imbue the building with ever changing temperatures, humidity and qualities of light, through the various open relations between the in- and outside of the bunker. Exterior, long term: The erosive power of time will weather the bunker’s surfaces that are exposed to nature’s unrelenting behavior. During this patient process culture is taken over or actually taken back- by nature. The direct surroundings might show more and more traces of the numerous ceremonies held in the bunker’s vicinity. Interior, short term: Throughout the year, the spiritual seasons will transform the bunker’s interior in a continuous succession of varying uses, both sacred and profane, often connected to ceremonial and celebratory days and periods. A space used for Buddhist meditation in the morning, or beginning of the week, might become a place of Muslim prayer in the afternoon or a few days later.


Interior, long term: Over time, through repeating experience with the performed rituals and ceremonies, the new use will inhabit, territorialize and congeal into a more permanent usage. Certain constant components of the buildings program can be rooted more thoroughly in the building according to the pattern of use they show over time. Despite of this, the building will still welcome and accommodate incidental or experimental uses. The traces that each use might leave behind add a subsequent story to the already layered history that can be read from the building’s walls, roofs and floors. If you would argue that architecture is - like all other aspects of life and nature – dynamic, this does not so much have to imply that buildings themselves should be able to move in a physical sense. It could mean that they have the ability not just to adapt to, but also adopt, new uses and vice versa. This might seem like a paradox; the building should not be interpreted as an instantaneous object that from its moment of completion should remain frozen in that fixed state until it meets its end; it should be ephemeral and adaptable. It should accommodate change and facilitate it in its own particular way. But that very conception should be able to change as well; when at a certain moment a more permanent demand arises, then the concept of change and transience should not mischievously be forced as a predetermined dogma. The building should then also be able to comply itself to the longer term.




Sacred spaces in profane buildings An important example of the ways in which buildings, spaces and places can be (de/re)territorialized for spiritual or religious purposes is the work by Mathilde Cassani. She examined how ethnic minorities are able to maintain their religious and spiritual practices in cities whose urban programming and built environment never fully provide their sacred/spiritual institutions and other physical spatial requirements. Often this is because its citizens originate from various countries and cultures that often differ from the places to which they (constrainedly) emigrated. In current multicultural societies this is ever becoming a bigger issue. Because the urban hardware is often programmed to a different set of spiritual and religious requirements, the immigrants are oft compelled to create their own meaningful places within the pre-existent and established city-tissue. This is because its physical dimension is a too slow system to adequately respond to such acute, and often local, demands. Due to this reason, such groups of people often proceed to the ‘(re)territorialisation’ of existing places, buildings and spaces. By making use of relatively simple means – which are often available at local supermarkets103 - they manage to constitute adaptable and reversible interventions within existing structures. The places are hereby imbued with new meaning with which the users are able to both project and recognize their own (cultural/spiritual/religious) values. Cassani’s original case-study was a small rural village that was characterized by the large number and versatility of refugees that transmigrated there. Because each ethnicity brought along an accompanying personal culture and religion – which often contrasted with the established Roman Catholic faith – they proved to be highly inventive in the creation of their 103

Mathilde Cassani, Sacred spaces in profane buildings, UrbanOmnibus (2011)





own altars and other relics of such kind, solely by making use of means that were locally available. Cassani researched and inventoried these – what she would later term – ‘spiritual devices’, and she managed to bundle these into 1m x 1m cases, one for each of the religions she investigated. These cases, containing the ‘distilled’ spiritual instruments, enable anyone to transform any possible location to a place of spiritual or religious significance; a sort of ‘guerilla-religion’ if you will. Supported by the success of this first research she continued her search for other interesting cities which she could examine in a similar manner. After having made analyses of Italian, Spanish and German metropolises, Cassani ended up in New York mid 2011, where she decided to expand the research methodology she had used previously. She opened up a website to which anyone, who was even slightly familiar with any example of ‘informal’ spiritual-religious programming of the urban tissue, could share that knowledge. The url of the website immediately made clear what it was she was looking for; www.sacredpsacesinprofanebuildings.com. A torrent of responses created a comprehensive database of stories, photographs, movies, sketches and anecdotes, not only from people who regularly visited these locations but also from passers’ accidental encounters. What appears to be an interesting contradiction to this, is to what enormous extent people have gone (and still go) to build churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and similar houses for Gods and Deities or places of prayer. By far the largest share of the man-made world wonders has a religious or spiritual motive at its existential basis. For the construction of buildings with such purposes it seems as if ‘heaven is the limit’ as expenses nor effort are spared.


A bigger contrast, than to the conclusions of Cassani’s work, seems to be virtually impossible. In the actual dens of the urban tissue, spiritually adopted places seem to emerge all the more frequently. From humid basements in which the faithful pray towards Mecca more times a day, to oratories directly adjacent to open sewers. Ethereal use of a rigid structure Mathilde Cassani’s work makes it utterly clear just how simple and inelaborate buildings and spaces can be adopted, providing that the building allows this to happen. This appropriation is viable for the hardware, physical dimension as well as the software, programmatic dimension. When this knowledge is projected onto the Diogenes’ structure, while moreover aspiring spiritual pluriformity, a miraculous situation arises; a soberarchitectural environment with a great variety of strong, but non-oppressive, atmospheres, that supports a multifaceted use which despite its volatility creates enormous value for (and ascribes it to) the rigid structure of the building. The synthesis between use and space, in which the existing building does not just absorb the use, (and is imbued with new meaning in the process) but the new use is also ought to absorb the existing building. The reciprocity of this second aspect is highly important in the sense that the old bunker is in that case of real added value and keeps its own important meaning as ‘territorialisable’ place. Similar to the thought is the approach of Herzog & de Meuron for the extension of the Tat Modern museum in London. In the (re)design, of the turbine hall they previously already converted to the museum, the architects incorporated the old oil tanks. They chose to keep this unique part of the building in its original condition as much as possible, so that it becomes a exposition space to which the future exhibiting artist are forced to react. The space therefore does not simply comply itself to the generic conformal requirements of its


new function, but initiates a dialogue with its user who in its own manner has to (re)territorialise the old industrial rotunda. A huge – noncoincidental – positive competence of this ethereal (de-/re-)territorialisation approach is the fact it enables the bunker to accommodate much more than its direct physical confinements would allow it to. Spaces become multi-interpretable and can be adopted by a number of different users on the same day. A space that is used for an interreligious communal gathering in the morning might be appropriated for a spiritual lecture series in the afternoon while the later that evening it becomes a place for meditation. This moreover shows how this conception of the bunker’s space and use foster the hoped-for xenogamy between different cultures, religions and (spiritual) philosophies.


The ‘Grossraum’, reterritorialised as meditation space


The ‘Grossraum’, reterritorialised as Islamic prayer room



Reflection If I could not have let my fascination and interest roam as free as I did during this graduation process, I would have never discovered as much as I did. Without discovery, one will not explore new grounds, produce no new knowledge or insight, nor will it expand one’s horizon and thusly there will be no (personal) development. Sincere gratitude therefore goes out to the freedom that I was granted as well as to the faith that was essential to make that development possible. New explorations almost automatically entails adventure, not just for me but for the graduation tutors just as much, and maybe even more. In that sense, the significance of this project is – from a personal point of view – not so much in the display of knowledge, competences and skills as developed over the course of the academic career. The true value stems from the growth and evolution that the project has triggered on a much broader level. It was a challenging process, of which at the beginning, the final destination was anything but envisioned or ascertained. That description can be considered as typical for this project; the starting points were formulated in such a well grounded manner, so that the direction resulting from it could be followed with an assuring certainty. Not precisely knowing what the next step would lead to, but being confident it would be in the right direction, made it an adventurous discovery journey with a lot of big learning moments en route. I remember a conversation with Jan Schevers, in an early phase of this project, during which we were discussing the architectural approach and attitudes of architects. In expressing my opinion I told him I thought that the reason why architects often discover their ‘architectural esprit’ at an older age is because only then they gain insight into the own 228

ideas of where they want their architecture to lead to and where in their philosophy lay the essences. If I would have to make a prediction of what my ‘architectural esprit’ would later be, I expect (or hope) it would be that every project deserves and requires its own particular architecture, vision and approach. This surpasses merely choosing brick, wood or concrete and goes beyond the question whether it should be rustic or minimalistic. It should also transcend considerations that seek to determine whether its style belongs to critical-regionalistic, neo-traditionalistic or the hyper-modern. Merdy Derksen asked me (from a financial feasibility point of view), just before the start of the ‘Green Light’ presentation, which architectural interventions were essential for the project to succeed and were thus absolutely forbidden to be cut as retrenchment. There was no time to answer it properly at that moment but an analogy that immediately came to mind was to a Mercedes; because what is essential to that luxury car that makes it a Mercedes? What holds that essence? Is it the calf leather electrically warmed massage chair, the APG parking system with reversing camera, the B&O entertainment package with integrated navigational or is it merely the three-legged star that shines on the front of the hood? It is noticeably difficult to appoint wherein exactly essences can be found, perhaps because they cannot be seen as separate entities, not discernible as singular aspects or characteristics isolated from their context; the well-known whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. In retrospect it has become clear how this perspective is affiliated to the Deluzian concept of the rhizome; the vision from which the design meticulously resulted can be typified by this intertwined system without one clear centre or hierarchy.104 It is a dense network of conceptions, philosophical reasoning, lines of thought, value theorems, connections and interrelated themes that was, not unimportantly, also partly intuitively established. Because this approach has consistently continued itself from the preliminary


Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, London (2004)


research into the architectural elaboration means that the essence of this project’s design is also not grounded on a unilateral concept but imbedded in an intertwined whole. I believe that everything in this world is interconnected, often in more than a single manner. These relations are however not to be considered by definition in a literal sense, they can be of any kind; so not just physical but also biological, philosophical, psychological, social, spiritual or metaphysical etc. These relationships are extant at all times but are in a deactivated, or latent, state. During the creative process the architect explores, from his own background, the context of the assignment on the various (before mentioned) relevant levels and ‘activates’ the latent connections that he renders important. The mutual relations are thus pre-existing but it is up to the architect to make a choice which ones he, in the frame of the project, considers to be most valuable and important; in this way a vision and design come into existence, emergent from the project, centered on the building as well as carrying the architect’s esprit. Please note that this describes an approach that highly sensitively treats the nature of the assignment and operates real thoroughly; it unravels the plurally complex essences in order to subsequently re-embody it. My personal architectural attitude I would classify – at least for this project – as belonging to such a sensitive approach. For conversion-related cases (such as this graduation project) this means that the (re)creation of architecture in suchlike situations becomes an intensive process wherein a highly complex set of demands, requirements, wishes, interests, values and regulations need to be warranted. During moments in which this seems to lead to an amassment of starting points or reciprocities whereby you threaten to lose the overview, this method by all means enables you to safely recline feeling comfortably supported by the knowledge that the elaborate architectural rhizome will offer numerous sources and motives to come to the right decisions.


Furthermore there can be other valuable concepts be linked to the rhizomatic approach that increase creativity and improve philosophical reasoning. For example, there is often spoken about serendipity; the ‘accidental’ or ‘fortunate’ discovery of something important while you were actually looking for something completely else. In this context however, I would rather consider it the value of the alert and agile mind, that is capable to reveal and activate hidden connections, imbue them with value and draw conclusions from what the non-mindful would describe as ‘coincidences’.





Gratitude The previous reflective paragraph already contained the necessary interwoven acknowledgements but it definitely deserves to be mentioned again; my first and foremost gratitude goes to my supervising graduation committee – Jan Westra, Jan Schevers, AndrÊ Walraven and Merdy Derksen for their continuous commitment and trust in me and my graduation project. The fact that I received the support to continue the project, despite the adventurous character of the process, clearly show how they were willing to embark on this adventure in architecture with me. Furthermore there is a long list of people who each had their share in helping me to get where I wanted to be; First of all Ilona Steijven for sharing her professional knowledge on Diogenes, providing me with a lot of in-depth information and her critical remarks on my plan. Edwin Hagedoorn for arranging access to the building and showing me around onsite. Jan Kamphuis for his initial information on vacant buildings in the Netherlands and proposing possible casestudies. Xander Hendrikx for his critical comments and arranging the discussion at the Governments Buildings Agency. Paul de Leeuw for performing the Shinto ceremony at my final colloquium and elaborating on its cultural backgrounds. Michel DecrÊ for familiarizing me with chado and the discussion on Japanese aesthetics and rituals. Wanda Sluyter for welcoming me at Kwan Yin and showing me around the monastery. The monks at SintBenedictus for absorbing me in their daily routine and the intriguing stay at their abbey. Father Leo for sharing his knowledge on Dom Hans van der Laan. The people at Shofukan for participating in the Shinto ceremony. Uri Ben-Ari for his positive and constructive comments and epiphanies. Jos Bosman for his anecdotes of Simon Ungers, 233


and Irene Curulli for sharing her knowledge on vacancy and urban wastelands. Ana Pereira Roders for explaining me her Re-Arch methodology, Gijs Wallis de Vries for enhancing my perception of the sublime and Jacob Voorthuis for discussing the ontology of use with me. Ronald Rietveld for the information on the bunker 599 project and the technology of cutting though concrete. Toine Leijten for providing me with the Cugla 1mm grout for the final architectural model. Last but definitely not least I would like to thank my parents who played a key role in making it possible for me to study Architecture with the least of worries. And many thanks to my friends at university for their help in finishing models and discussing the project, and making it fun while doing all of that.


Appendix A

_ The diamond-wire cutting system is the key to the process of cutting heavy, concrete structures.. Comprised of a modular, mobile saw and diamond wire, the system is powered by two hydraulic motors. The saw can be broken down into components for a variety of applications. Standard fasteners and 2-inch schedule 80 tubing generate infinite machine position configurations to make a variety of cuts including flush to a floor, parallel to an adjacent wall or at an angle. The primary hydraulic motor with direct mounted wire saw wheel moves along a track guided by a hydraulic-driven rackand-pinion drive. Both motors allow cutting wire as long as 100 meters to move in either direction at variable speeds. The wire is guided via two different sizes of transition brackets and pulleys that re-orient the wire from one plane to another, accommodating different cutting angles. Powered by a 50 horsepower power unit, the diamond wire cuts cross-sectional areas at a rate of 1–3 square meters per hour. These power sources produce high-flow hydraulic power for both drive motors. Two bi-directional valves yield easy, single handle operation. Users guide main drive speed and direction—both clockwise and counter-clockwise—and set the speed and direction of the rack drive’s stroke via these controls.


_ To filter out heavy solids, we’ve designed a proprietary waterslurry recycling filtration system with upper and lower drums connected to an air-operated diaphragm pump. Particles as large as 100 microns and as small as 5 microns are removed, and the water is returned to the cutting operation for reuse. * Most of the above text and images are courtesy of Cutting Edge Services Corp Š

Diamond wire saws can cut through all types of stone, steel and concrete, including the hardest and most abrasive ones. The wires are made up from steel cylinders surrounded by diamond rings, which are normally produced by sintering or electrolysis. Depending on the application the wires can be customised to meet any specific demand.


Scheme of a conventional diamond wire cutting setup



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_ - Sophie Roulet, Toyo Ito, Paris (1991) - John Schneijderberg, Distilling Architecture – Preliminary Research, Eindhoven (2011) - Christian Schittich, In detail : building in existing fabric: refurbishment, extensions, new design, (Berlin 2003) - Itoh Teiji, unpublished manuscript, The Japanese Approach to Urban Space, Tokyo (1973), - Fred Thompson, Japanese mountain deities, New York (1997), - Dick Veerman, Vliegveld Deelen, van last tot lust?, Arnhem (2004) - Jacob Voorthuis, The interaction of the body in its projected environment, Voorthuis.net (2007) - Jacob Voorthuis, An aesthetics of generosity, in Adaptables: when things around us start moving, Voorthuis.net (2009) - R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - Motohisa Yamakage (ed. Paul de Leeuw), The essence of Shinto, Tokyo (2006) - Peter Zumthor, Atmospheres, Basel (2006)


Photographic acknowledgements


- Veluwe panorama : http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14522054 - Veluwe drift-sand hill: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15339156 - Scheme ‘Fliegerhorst Deelen: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - Kammhuberlinie: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - ‘Grossraum’ drawing: Signal (1944) - Diogenes exterior southwest: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - Diogenes exterior northwest: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - Cover signal: Signal (1944) - Air commanders: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - Tribune with Blitzmädel: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - Old diesel engine in basement: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - Floorplan schemes of Diogenes: John Schneijderberg i.a.w. Government Buildings Agency - Old newspaper article: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) (original source unknown) - BHV at Diogenes: Drs. W.H. Tiemens - Destroyed tribunes in Grossraum: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - Construction in Grossraum: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - Corridor with architeves: R.H. Vossebeld, Geschiedenisboek Diogenes, (2007) - Diogenes and Alexander: http://www.mythologie.ch/BILDER/alexander_diogenes01.jpg - Building – Use – Context scheme: John Schneijderberg - Interfaith: http://interfaithscholar.org/files/2011/06/IFS-logo-bw-02.jpg - Folded hands of meditation: http://gracepresence.fr/wp-content/uploads/journee_meditation.jpg - Meditative states scheme: John Schneijderberg - Abdij Sint-Benedictusberg: John Schneijderberg - Detail Antiphona: John Schneijderberg - Lelijkste monument van Nederland: Smaak magazine #34, Government Buildings Agency - 3D schemes of Diogenes: John Schneijderberg - Sketch types of use: John Schneijderberg - Religious calendar: John Schneijderberg - Sketch of approach: John Schneijderberg - Misty forest: http://www.khoras.net/Khoras/Planet/Forests/Mist%20Forest/MistForest.jpg


_ - Bell bunker render: John Schneijderberg - Lighting candle: http://themissionnatomas.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/candles20and20cross1.jpg - Entry staircase photo of 1/50 model: John Schneijderberg - Ablution space render: John Schneijderberg - Acclimatisation space render: John Schneijderberg - Diogenes central space render 1, 2, 3 & 4: John Schneijderberg - Ryoan-Ji border detail: http://letsjapan.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/057.jpg - Diogenes Kutei render 1 & 2: John Schneijderberg - Omikuji Wall render: John Schneijderberg - Transition space: John Schneijderberg - Diogenes basement spaces renders 1, 2, 3 & 4: John Schneijderberg - Veluwe path: http://static.panoramio.com/photos/1920x1280/15775183.jpg - Meditative tree pavilion: Iikka Halso, iikka.halso.net - Diogenes empty space render: John Schneijderberg - ‘Ma’ symbol: John Schneijderberg - Ma: Space-time in Japan exhibition: Arata Isozaki, Japan-ness in Architecture, Cambirdge (2006) - Calligraphy: http://www.wayoftea.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/wot-zola-brush-quote.jpg - Ablution facility Istanbul: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28711058@N00/7202238456/ - Madrassa of Sultan Hassan: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahmedalbadawyshots/4643809335/ - Nakhoda Masjid: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sumanrc/6538223317/ - Chand Baori: http://www.flickr.com/photos/toyaguerrero/6334175070/ - Sun Temple: http://www.flickr.com/photos/passion-brute/5132044745/ - Temizuya: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lordofnerur/4322112853/ - Ibn Tulun: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mitopencourseware/2989817006/ - Search for the ‘lost Da Vinci’: Dave Yoder, http://static.diario.latercera.com/201112/1420424.jpg - Mobile tatami: Michael Freeman 2012 - Indoor Karesansui: Bjorn Bjarre, http://www.bjarre.org/works/karesansui.html - Lord Vishnu Chalked on wall: John Schneijderberg - Diamond wire saw process: http://www.cuttingedgeservices.com/how.html - Diamond wire types: http://www.diatoolco.com/images/DW.jpg - Moss and stones: Takehara Yoshiji


Distilling Architecture

“Every conception that a man can find is in the stone itself, already there concealed in excess, but will still require a hand to free it that obeys the mind.� Michelangelo (1475-1564)

John Schneijderberg 0580821 Eindhoven University of Technology (2012) 243



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