Dom Hans van der Laan described his career as a 'quest'. Through a long life as architect and monk he devoted himself to a search for the primitive origins of architecture: for that fundamental link between the technical act of building and our need to define and order the space around us, without which he believed no worthwhile education or practice was possible. Dom Hans van der Laan: Modern Primitive is the first full-length study of the evolution of Van der Laan's design and theory. It is based on a large amount of unpublished documents, including Van der Laan's lecture manuscripts, and on conversations and correspondence with Richard Padovan. The author concludes that Van der Laan's achievement is not to have established a recipe or a formula for architecture, but to have staked out, within the infinite possibilities of building, a terrain within which the nature of architecture can begin to be thought about. The text is completed by a series of specially commissioned photographs by Kim Zwarts of Van der Laan's masterpiece, the abbey of St. Benedictusberg at Vaals.