Dom Hans van der Laan


'Mens Agitat Molem' (1983)

Dom Hans van der Laan

Location: Entrance to TU/e campus coming from Kennedylaan

'Mens Agitat Molem', meaning 'Spirit moves matter', is the motto of TU/e. This motto is also the text of a plaque on the facade of the Pavilion, the first building erected on the campus. The plaque at the entrance at Kennedylaan was completed under supervision of ing. Hans Kalkhoven, along with the 'Ring of Möbius' that stands behind it.

The design of the letters used for both plaques was made by the benedictine monk and architect Dom Hans van der Laan. Letters of this type feature too in 'Alfabet', a work by Van der Laan that embellishes the wall of the Dorgelo conference room in the Traverse building.

The plaque carrying the motto, together with the 'Ring of Möbius', was a gift made by the Philips Company to TU/e on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its foundaton.

Dom Hans van der Laan

The Benedictine monk and architect Dom Hans van der Laan (1904-1991) designed many religious buildings. Characteristic are the impression of tranquility and simplicity they make, but also the attention to detail.

Dom van der Laan was in search of the true principles of architectural shaping. He wondered what aesthetic standards a building should meet. Within existing architectural currents he found no answers. Therefore he went in search of a comprehensive theory, assisted by his brother Nico, also an architect.

This architectural theory which the two brothers developed became known as the Plastic Number. This was a calculation of optimal dimensions similar to the Golden Ratio. Using it as a guideline, Van der Laan calculated where to place windows, how high ceilings and how wide rooms should be. All these dimensions were in a fixed relation to each other.

After World War Two, Hans and Nico van der Laan taught ecclesiastical architecture at the Kruithuis in Den Bosch. This resulted in the architectural current known as the Den Bosch School..

See also: Alfabeth;