Should savings be made on the reconstruction of Hoogmade Church due to higher prices, or can architect Paul Rietbroek ‘keep the strength of the design intact’?

Because the bishop gave his blessing earlier this month, the reconstruction is certainly 2.5 years after the fire. However, due to increased (construction) costs and scarcity of materials, it is necessary to talk again with the selected contractor and the insurance company. “The contractor can no longer handle the amount we agreed on in November last year. So with the index adjustment of the costs, he has to go back to the insurance company, which then has to keep up. And it can be a struggle ”, by the architect of experience.

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Photo from November 4, 2019: A major fire has started under the roof of Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Boortekerk in Hoogmade. Archive photo Robin Utrecht / ANP

Of course, it would be best if the contractor and the architect could make it clear to the insurance company that all the extra euros are needed. Because otherwise it’s about budget cuts. And Rietbroek will ‘not think about that yet’. It has everything to do with the love of the architect Jan van der Laan, who built the church in the 1930s. The previous version had collapsed after about fifty years due to a poor foundation. Van der Laan finished the job with his father Leo.

Crafts

Although some believe that Van der Lanen was built soberly, Rietbroek knows better. “Jan’s work in particular was rich in detail, and his buildings are very meticulous. Real craftsmanship ”, he knows better than anyone. For example, he has been able to restore many Jan van der Laan buildings with his office or is still working on it. A selection of these: Herensingelkerk, the chapel at Zijlpoort, the old household school at Galgewater and Goede Herderkerk in Wassenaar.

The beautiful wooden rafters by architect Jan van der Laan.

The beautiful wooden rafters by architect Jan van der Laan. pictures church

The fascinating interplay between lines of frames.

The fascinating interplay between lines of frames. pictures church

And everywhere Rietbroek sees things he can enjoy. In Hoogmade you have to take the beautiful wooden rafters at the bottom of the ceiling in the church hall: they gave the room richness. From a technical point of view, you can say: with a steel construction and large roof elements, you are there too. But then it is a box and no longer the beautiful, spacious space it used to be. “

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The spacious church hall before the fire.

The spacious church hall before the fire. Stock Photo Dick Hogewoning

And what about the construction on which Van der Laan rested his trusses? An elegant but robust combination of natural stone and brick, built in a triangular formation. In the pieces of the outer wall between the cracked windows, these ‘support legs’ still stand out. Albeit with damaged natural stone. Or see the somewhat wavy masonry tops of the walls. And so Rietbroek could stay that way for a while.

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What is no longer so obvious: the somewhat wavy bricked upper edges of the walls.

What is no longer so obvious: the somewhat wavy bricked upper edges of the walls. Stock Photo Michel van Bergen

Between the windows are the support pillars on which the wooden rafters used to rest and now the beams that hold the walls together.

Between the windows are the support pillars on which the wooden rafters used to rest and now the beams that hold the walls together. photo Paul Rietbroek

Power design

The building in the heart of the village has never been a monument, but the native Veender Rietbroek has always approached it as such. ,, I see it as my task to use the power of design; to keep the church afloat. And with craftsmen – from stonemasons, masons and glaziers to carpenters – we will work hard to ensure that it comes back neat and tidy. That we get back the beautiful architecture in Van der Laan. ”

May the stonemasons revive the ugly cracked natural stone in and on the church, the glaziers do not hand over their stained glass to the side walls of the church hall: ,, The problem was that we did not have good documentation of the pictures. So we could not really reconstruct the work either. And you should not fantasize about such a thing. “

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The church windows no longer contain too much glass.

The church windows no longer contain too much glass. Stock Photo Michel van Bergen

In addition, the large church hall, which could accommodate about four hundred people, is divided into two. The front part – with the descending altar and about 150 seats – becomes the liturgical or ecclesiastical part, the second part can be added to busy worship services, but can also be used for other things.

And in separating the parts, glaziers have been assigned an important role: ,, The diocesan court requires that the sliding wall that comes here is opaque. The idea behind this is that when you are in the public part, you must not have a view of the church part. Not even outside the services. ”

But, of course, no office bulkhead fits into such a building, and glass can do wonders, as Rietbroek successfully argued: “By treating it with sand, glass might as well become opaque. Meanwhile, light can pass through. Light from the windows above can also shine through the glass mosaic that comes here. ”

Return Mary

The sliding wall with a double door in the middle is more than three meters high. In the hall, which is three times as high, this makes room for a special return of Mary. Before the fire, she adorned the old stained glass windows – in the part that will soon be used for non-denominational things. She soon gets a place on one of the stained glass medallions that are to hang between the partition and the ceiling. With a diameter of about 2.5 meters, her medallion will be the largest in the series. And the colors that are important to the church – red, yellow and blue – are reflected in it.

All in all, Rietbroek thinks it is a very nice task, but he realizes that it is not yet a piece of cake: ,, Due to the recent price increases, final price agreements have to be made. With the contractor, but also with his suppliers and subcontractors. Furthermore, it must be made clear what the new delivery times are for the materials and – if it takes too long – whether we might be able to take other materials. Materials that have always been very important to Van der Laan, and which in part must be made separately. For example, the size of stone he used for Our Lady of the Church of the Nativity is no longer on the market.

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The top of the tower with its triangular 'endings' is quite rammed.

The top of the tower with its triangular ‘endings’ is quite rammed. Stock Photo Michel van Bergen

And that requires a lot of bricks for the job. For example, both side walls need to be completely replaced, and the top of the tower with its triangular ‘facade ends’ is quite battered. “It has also become very hot. This can be seen in the ironworks that Van der Laan had made to outweigh the spire he added: the iron was completely bent. “

The boiler house between the church and the rectory also suffered extensive fire damage. But that building must provide space for what, among other things, will be the new entrance to both parts of the church. Here should also have a wardrobe and toilets space. The round stone niche behind the altar, the apse, seems to have withstood the fire well. Here the walls can remain standing, and unlike other places, the glass mosaic tiles can still be repaired.

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The round part behind the altar is reasonably spared, it turned out a day after the fire.

The round part behind the altar is reasonably spared, it turned out a day after the fire. Stock Photo Michel van Bergen

The niche behind the altar, seen from the inside.

The niche behind the altar, seen from the inside. photo Paul Rietbroek

Ask Rietbroek when the first service can be held in the new church, and he says things like, “We still lack some preparation time.” Or he states that it will be “one and a half years after the start of construction”, without being able to announce when that start will be: ,, We hope that it will succeed shortly after the construction holiday. What also makes a difference is that the contractor is positive about it. ”

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