Daredevil Jesus on the GPS

"As a child I already thought the Paterskerk was immense". In the childhood memories of Gerard Rooijakkers the holy statue on top of the tower encompassed dimensions he couldn't fathom. "Every time we drove past that statue, which happened a lot, it was mentioned and pointed at. A familiar handling with the sacred one could say. The statue was such a part of Eindhoven that I didn't realize for a second that it wouldn't be self-evident that the statue would be there for the rest of eternity", according to Rooijakkers.

Nothing is self-evident

This realization came a couple of years later when the first Catholic church in Eindhoven near Fellenoord was demolished in 1973. This was unheard of. "I can still see the holy water troughs lying among the debris. Very weird. We belonged to the Holy Heart parish in the Ploegstraat that by now has been revoked from worship. A good design from architect Dom Bellot, just like the chapel of the Augustinianum, who liked elevated mystics in flat brick with a tower for a rocket."

The genius loci of Mariënhage

The monastery of Mariënhage refers to the beginning of the city of Eindhoven according to historian Gerard. The oldest still visible place of a city that is not aimed at a memory but towards expectation. In 2006, when the city council asked Rooijakkers to make the historical culture of Eindhoven more visible the magic of Mariënhage couldn't be missing. To cut a long story short: two years later for the first time in 500 years two versions of a medieval manuscript, written by Augustine Nicolaas Clopper in 1472, were reunited and displayed in Eindhoven. Since then this world chronicle, called Florarium Temporum, belongs to the historical awareness and collective memory of the city and is recently for sale in the bookshops. "So yeah, I have quite a connection with Mariënhage", according to the historian of culture.

Metaphors as new software

When asked by DELA to think about the conceptual foundation for the re-use of this building, the in his memory immense church got smaller as the project went on, even without the confessional chairs. The connection with the city became stronger and stronger and the interdependence of the buildings became more transparent. In order not to fall in a litany of historical heritage stories, Rooijakkers chose to work with three metaphors. Together with DELA he developed the new software of the building.

Time, light and heart as connectors

The first metaphor closely connect with the heritage of Saint Augustinus (354-430), church father and inspirer of the Augustines from around 420. He states that there is only one time: the present. The past is the present time of the memory and the future is nothing less, and nothing more, than the present time of expectations. How great is that for a historical building from the Augustines in a modern city such as Eindhoven? "We are the times. How we are, the times are". In DOMUSDELA we celebrate the time of living. Light travels through time and space, whether it comes from the sun, a Philips light-bulb or an ASML laser. Light belongs to high-tech Eindhoven. However, light as a metaphor also has spiritual dimensions: people 'see the light' when something happens to them. Finally, the metaphor of the heart is about connecting: with the heart of the city, heart for the project and the heart of daredevil Jesus where all metaphors are combined.

Gerard hasn't been living in Eindhoven for a long time. It appears, to his astonishment that the address of the Paterskerk is marked in 3-D on the GPS with a church tower on which Daredevil Jesus is displayed. A statue with a grand story, that will be a part of Eindhoven even in the future.

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