My vision of architecture and art was based on my visits to churches, temples, convents and cathedrals. First came ‘my’ cathedral in Antwerp, where I could admire ‘my’ Rubens! Then of course all the churches I visited with my parents during our Italian holidays…(my grandfather was Italian and so we came to Italy every year in August to visit some of the family in the mountains around Lecco and Lake Como). My favourites were, and still are, the church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence, the tomb or Mausoleo of Galia Placida in Ravenna and the Byzantine mosaics of Sant’Appolinare in Classe, the paintings by Giotto in the basilica of Assisi, the temples and houses in Kyoto and later in Singapore, and the baroque ‘Carolus Borromeus’ church in Antwerp. The spirituality of architectural buildings does reflect on our limited stay in this world.


Ports and the greatness of their docks give you the feeling of being part of something bigger than just this place and this life. I learned much about appreciating this spirituality without being baptised or educated religiously. This freedom from purely formal religious boundaries made me a more complete spiritual person. Later, when I discovered the work of Bill Viola, I felt he captured this kind of spirituality in his work that refers to Fra Angelico and the frescoes in Florence.