Two prominent Dutch architects and their ideal of expressing in their architectural work their views on the relationship between man and nature. These are the subject of the documentary The Nature of Space.Architecture is the art form in which the relationship between man and nature is manifested most directly, making it one of the most interesting characteristics of architecture. The two architects are the Benedictine monk H. van der Laan and the 'organic' architect Ton Alberts, who both seem to embark from diametrically opposite standpoints. Yet their points of departure actually constitute two aspects of the same basic principle. Both Alberts and Van der Laan seek an essential harmony, be it that they approach it by completely different routes. By portraying the two approaches, the film depicts the way in which man expresses his relationship with nature in architecture.Van der Laan represents 'rational' architecture based on the cube shape, whereas Ton Alberts' work is 'intuitive' and based on the pentagon. The cube symbolises developments over the last 2,000 years, while Alberts claims that we are now entering a new age in which the more intuitive 'female' side of our nature needs to be developed. Van der Laan has built churches and monasteries in Europe (his magnum opus is the monastery at Vaals) while Alberts' greatest work so far, the NMB headquarters in Amsterdam, is already highly regarded by fellow architects all over the world. Apart from these two major works, the film also focuses on the buildings which have most inspired them: Van der Laan paradoxically took his inspiration from prehistoric Stonehenge, while Alberts derived his from early Christian dwellings and churches in the Góreme Valley in Turkey.

International title
The nature of space
Filmmaker
Frank Scheffer
Premiere
World premiere
Country
Netherlands
Year
1992
Medium
16mm
Length
72’
Language
Dutch
Producer
All Arts Productions
Sales
All Arts Productions