granito, cortenstaal en messing
Nieuwe Haven, Den Haag
52.0762160887687, 4.32196241341589 View on map
Finally, their neighborhood would be embellished with a long-awaited work of art. Buurtberaad Spuikwartier immediately knew what to do with the preserved roof of the demolished bathhouse. Their explicit request was to make the roof part of this work of art.
Years of negotiations on rehousing the characteristic roof in the neighbourhood were now successful. The Commission for Visual Arts issued a commission with the condition of integrating the bathhouse dome into the work of art. From the ninety entries, the committee chose the design by the Utrecht artist Jan Samson. At the beginning of October 1988 Samson was allowed to start the execution.
In the 1989 work of art 'Badhuiskoepeltje' in the central reservation on the Nieuwe Haven, past and present meet each other. On pillars designed by Samson rests the old dome of the Hague architect A.A. Schadee (1862-1937). As a structural engineer for the Municipal Works from 1891 to 1927, he helped determine the cityscape of The Hague during that period. Under Schadee's bathhouse roof Samson placed a concrete table with another four pillars on top. Without a couch or chairs, the table is not meant to be sat on. Because of the open character, the pillars, the altar-like table and the pagoda shaped roof, the work of art breathes the sacred atmosphere of a temple.
At no point does it matter that new and old have been combined in this object. In part, this is certainly due to Samson's affinity with architecture. He studied at the Arnhem Academy of Visual Arts, department of architectural design/monumental design. Moreover, in his sculptures he often incorporates architectural elements, such as stairs, gates or columns. The 'little temple' includes a diamond object and two groups of three statues in granito and brass. The total is, according to Samson in the 'Utrechts Nieuwsblad' of 14 November 1989: 'A reflection of the different cultures in this district'.