2013 Lonnie KokenLonnie Koken - The Intercultural House
Is it possible to create a sacred space, where people with different cultures, traditions and believe systems come together and contemplate? The intercultural House offers an opportunity to create a connection between different social groups, acknowledging that cultures and traditions are intermingling.

As the original meaning of the term religion is ‘to bind’, the vision for The intercultural House is that of a place to meet, through unity in diversity. I focussed on the similarities between the five main religions in The Netherlands: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. The final result is not one common space but five separate places of contemplation, the ‘solid’ space. These five solid spaces are connected by the ‘liquid’ space, housing the common functions.

To define the actual essence of each solid space my investigation goal was researching the typical primal building of each religion. By seeing ‘light’ as the most important creator of space and to simulate actual ‘unity’, all five spaces are equally dimensioned but show different luminosities specific to the core essence of each religion.

The chosen location for this project is the polder area in the middle of The Green Heart surrounded by the four largest cities of our country. As religion is an inside matter the solid spaces are equally sunken into Mother Earth. Inspired by the incisions of the typical Dutch polder landscape, the walk to the actual building has become the physical translation of the inner journey one has to accomplish to reach their inner selves.

The central meeting square gives access to the entrance doors beyond which an earthly atmosphere appears. The white ‘solid’ volume guides the visitor to finally discover a bright beam of light in the inner core. A space where nothing else matters but the brightness of the inner soul, our true selves.

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