James Turrell - Celestial Vault

Kijkduin, Den Haag

Location: Machiel Vrijenhoeklaan 175, Kijkduin
(across restaurant De Haagsche Beek)

(for transportation advise scroll down)

Great panorama shots by John Law

The idea to invite Turrell first occurred when Stroom participated in the preparations for the International Conference of Landscape Architecture held in 1992 in The Hague whose theme was the relation between landscape architecture and the visual arts. The scale of the original plan of an artificial crater in the dunes was so grand that no one believed that it would ever be realized.

In the dunes of The Hague, where light can have such a tangible presence, Turrell created a place to gaze at the sky: ‘Celestial Vault' in Kijkduin. At the top of one of the rubble dunes, a bowl in the shape of an ellipse has been built, 30 meters wide and 40 meters long. A wall of earth, approximately 5 meters high encloses the bowl. In order to reach this artificial crater you first climb up the dune on wooden stairs and then walk through a six meter long concrete passageway. The slopes on the inside of the crater have been sown with grass and a monumental natural stone bench is in the middle on which two people can lie back and observe how the sky is a vault. A similar bench is located on a higher dune where a panorama unfolds over the sea, the beach and the flat countryside beyond. In the direction of the horizon, the vault gradually becomes flatter. For Turrell, light and space themselves are the object and one of the points he wants to make is that, during the act of observation, the observer should experience that he/she is observing.

Address
Machiel Vrijenhoeklaan 175, Kijkduin, across from restaurant De Haagsche Beek

Public Transport
From Station CS: bus 24 - get off at bus stop Kijkduinse straat / Machiel Vrijenhoeklaan - walk on for 500 meter.
From Station Hollands Spoor: tram 1 to the city center, transfer to bus 24.

By Car
Follow Laan van Meerdervoort up to the Kijkduinse straat; turn right; at traffic lights, turn left into Machiel Vrijenhoeklaan, and drive on to restaurant De Haagsche Beek.

Celestial Vault on Google Maps

Celestial Vault after renovations in 2008
photo: Gerrit Schreurs Fotografie
Celestial Vault after renovations in 2008
photo: Gerrit Schreurs Fotografie
'Celestial Vault' on the cover of 'Destination Art', edition 2011
photo: Gerrit Schreurs
Celestial Vault in 1996
photo: Jannes Linders
information sign
photo: Stroom Den Haag
James Turrell, Celestial Vault
photo: Jannes Linders
James Turrell inspects the model
James Turrell, Celestial Vault
photo: Stroom Den Haag
James Turrell, Celestial Vault
photo: Stroom Den Haag