MERK, researching about bricklaying

The ‘Under Construction’ partner from The Netherlands, MERK, researching about bricklaying, tell us about the restauration process of St. Urbanus Church

The church of St. Urbanus is located in Noorddammerlaan in Bovenkerk, municipality of Amstelveen in the Dutch province of North Holland, in The Netherlands. It was hit by a fire in 2018.

The Saint-Urbanus was designed by the architect Pierre Cuypers. Its construction began in 1875 and the church was consecrated in 1888. It is a three-aisled neo-Gothic hall church with a transept. The church has an over 65 meter high hexagonal tower. And is crowned with a high, elaborate spire. Cuypers chose this design to connect the main entrance to the road. The church itself stands in a slanted corner on the Noorddammerlaan, because the main altar and thus the axis of the church, as was customary at the time, was oriented to the east. (Source:Wikipedia)


Craftsmanship in the field of bricklaying vaults is present within the restoration company Nico de Bont. They have a number of skilled bricklayers who have often made new vaults.

In addition, the damage caused during the fire offers a new challenge for every phase of construction, each time a new plan of approach has to be made.

Knowledge transfer and new technology

Nowadays not many new vaults are made anymore. The sad event of the fire does offer us a nice building challenge: Thinking about getting the unstable vaults stable again, applying new building techniques such as 3D scanning. Because some of the vaults are no longer present, this project offers an excellent opportunity to transfer this expertise to a new generation of bricklayers.

Learning project

Company Nico de Bont turns this work into a learning project. In addition to brickwork, they will also deploy students for the specialist carpentry work on the new celebration tower. In this way we can contribute to the preservation of craftsmanship for the future.

Our aim is to record the way in which the vaults will be reconstructed so that the necessary knowledge for the future is recorded and made accessible to everyone.

Michel van Erkelens, 2020