Netherlands Architecture 1979

By | December 1, 2021

After 1945, the history of Dutch architecture is less and less the history of individual “masters”. It happens with increasing frequency that the authorship of a building is taken collectively by a group of architects, by a “studio”, so much so that, if you want to know who the actual author of the project is, it does not remain, more often than not, than to rely on hearsay. This, on the other hand, reflects the actual practice of design where individual work is becoming rarer every day.

Among the old architects of the great generation there are few who, having survived the five years of German occupation and total blocking of building activity, resumed their work as “soloists” after the war. WM Dudok (1884-1974) designed, in 1967, some residential complexes of high-rise houses in Amsterdam, mediocre in planimetric organization, but with plastic innovations that would later be largely imitated. On the other hand, the town hall of Velsen (1956) had added nothing to Dudok’s fame – if it had not diminished it. G. Rietveld (1888-1964) remained faithful to his De Stijl originand his reputation as a tireless researcher of new solutions: in the country villa in Ilpendam (1959) he refers to the purest Mondrian, while in designing the school buildings in Amsterdam (1957) and Arnhem (1958) he seems to seek a dematerialization of architectural structure as if it wanted to enclose the space in pure nothingness; again, in the country villa in Heerlen (1963) the spaces are stacked on top of each other like the quadrilaterals in Mondrian’s paintings. The Uithoorn church (1960) still recalls Mondrian, but with a touch of monumentality in the entrance area, which will become even more evident in the posthumous project for the Vincent van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. JJP Oud (1890-1963) gets rid of the ornamentalism he had turned to at the end of the Thirties, and tries, not without some difficulty,De Stijl: he will only succeed fully with the plans for the Congress Palace in The Hague, built after his death. Faced with the completed work, however, one wonders to what extent the enormous dimensions of a building like this are compatible with the compositional solutions of De Stijl. Among the “individualists” who survived the war, we should also mention J. Bijvoet (born in 1889) who, in a series of theaters (that of Tilburg in 1961, that of Nijmegen in 1963, that of Apeldoorn of 1966 and the project for that of Amsterdam, approved but not yet realized) has developed, with surprising youthful spirit, an expressive plasticity of an almost brutalist style not without romantic veins. S. van Ravesteijn (born in 1899), who in the Thirties had developed a personal form of Baroque, made up of curved lines and applied sculptures, returns to more austere solutions with the central station of Rotterdam (1953) which, if probably affected of a certain influence of the Termini station in Rome. For Netherlands 2001, please check naturegnosis.com.

The difficulty of attributing a work to a single author is already presented to us, to some extent, with W. van Tijen (1894-1974). In fact, he formed a partnership with HA Maaskant (born in 1907) that lasted from 1938 until the end of the 1950s, during which most of the works are to be considered carried out in collaboration, even if there seems to be more and more Maaskant’s hand while the van Tijen’s contribution becomes less and less recognizable. For the last five years of his life, Van Tijen devoted himself to the specialist field of senior construction. Netherlands Elling (1897-1962) was associated, after the war, with Ben Merkelbach (1901-1961): together they embarked on the path of functionality (as opposed to functionalism), as shown by the Rijnhotel in Rotterdam in 1957,De Stijl, of which he provides very beautiful essays, such as the administration building at the Utrecht International Fair in 1962, the radio studios in Hilversum, also in 1962, and a filling station in Amsterdam, built after his death.

JH van den Broek (born in 1898), although belonging by age to the generation of “individualists”, fully fits into the new trend in which, to sign the work, it is no longer the individual architect, but the “studio”. After having produced in the pre-war period a series of works that interpreted functionality in a somewhat crude but personal way, with results that were not beautiful but of solid appearance, in 1948 he founded a studio with JB Bakema (born in 1914). to acquire great fame far beyond national borders. In the particular interpretation that the two have provided of the “international style”, perhaps the immediacy of van den Broek has been partly lost, but there is no doubt that they, with the design, in 1953, of the shopping center (Lijnbaan) of Rotterdam, have created a work of exemplary value on an international level, and that, with works such as the civic center of Marl in the Federal Republic of Germany (built during the 1960s and beyond) or the state radio building in Hilversum (of 1956), have achieved results of notable mastery. The same can be said of the large auditorium of the technical university of Delft, even if, in its spectacular nature, it seems to refer to the project for an imaginary “New Babylon” by the Dutch painter and sculptor Constant.

The aforementioned HA Maaskant has placed himself at the head of a design studio whose collaborators have become more and more numerous. However, Maaskant’s style is recognizable, for example, in the “wholesale building” next to Rotterdam Central Station, the most beautiful (if not the only beautiful) building in this city. Probably the real author of the project is J. Steensma (born in 1904), but some details, and in particular the prefabricated ornamentation, as well as the general scheme of the project, are attributable to Maaskant (1949-51).

It is less easy to identify how much of the subsequent developments of Maaskant’s work is due to him and how much to his collaborators: the Tomado factory in Etten-Leur still bears the signature of only van Tijen and Maaskant (1955), but already the headquarters of the Tomado in Dordrecht (1962) is signed Maaskant-van Dommelen-Kroos-Senf; we find the same four signatures for the Johnson Wax offices in Mijdrecht (1967), even if they seem to have been designed by GP de Bruijn (born in 1929); something similar happens for the headquarters of the Adriaan Volker dredging company in Rotterdam (1973), of which it is still debated whether it is the work of De Bruijn or of Maaskant’s son-in-law, PJ Gerssen (born in 1932), who later broke away from study. All this demonstrates how it is no longer possible today not only to assign the

On the other hand, the eclipse of the few great architects allows us to face a considerable number of talented personalities: JP Kloos (born in 1905), a decisive functionalist, as can be seen from his singular residential complex on Dijkgraafplein in Amsterdam (1970); Netherlands Zanstra (born 1905), a successful follower of the international style; A. Staal (born in 1907), who solitary pursues his own attempt to adapt traditional aesthetics to today’s forms; MF Duintjer (born in 1908), very close to the international style, but recently turned to broken forms, more “humanized”; KL Sijmons (born in 1908), in which vague brutalist influences are felt; H. Salomonson (born 1910), a notable designer, with many country villas to his credit, but also a nice office building for a chemical industry in Amsterdam. Three followers of the international style should also be mentioned: EF Groosman (born in 1917), D. van Mourik (born in 1921) and JW du Pon (born in 1922); and some interesting middle generation functionalists: GJ van der Grinten (born 1927), JCL Choisy (born 1928), WG Quist (born 1930) and EJ Jelles (born 1932, whose attention to detail echoes the poetics of the 1920s). All of them, if they show that ours are not times of exceptional artistic individuality, however, above all, testify that architecture has lost much less vitality than is often said. Groosman (born in 1917), D. van Mourik (born in 1921) and JW du Pon (born in 1922); and some interesting middle generation functionalists: GJ van der Grinten (born 1927), JCL Choisy (born 1928), WG Quist (born 1930) and EJ Jelles (born 1932, whose attention to detail echoes the poetics of the 1920s). All of them, if they show that ours are not times of exceptional artistic individuality, however, above all, testify that architecture has lost much less vitality than is often said. Groosman (born in 1917), D. van Mourik (born in 1921) and JW du Pon (born in 1922); and some interesting middle generation functionalists: GJ van der Grinten (born 1927), JCL Choisy (born 1928), WG Quist (born 1930) and EJ Jelles (born 1932, whose attention to detail echoes the poetics of the 1920s). All of them, if they show that ours are not times of exceptional artistic individuality, however, above all, testify that architecture has lost much less vitality than is often said. whose attention to detail echoes the poetics of the 1920s). All of them, if they show that ours are not times of exceptional artistic individuality, however, above all, testify that architecture has lost much less vitality than is often said. whose attention to detail echoes the poetics of the 1920s). All of them, if they show that ours are not times of exceptional artistic individuality, however, above all, testify that architecture has lost much less vitality than is often said.

van Eyck (born 1918) and H. Hertzberger (born 1932) made the Dutch architecture magazine Forum famous around 1960 with their rediscovery of the Arab kasbah way of life, which had a huge influence on urban planning today. Van Eyck gained notoriety with his center for handicapped children in Amsterdam (1960); one of its residential neighborhoods, made up of low-rise houses, in Zwolle (under construction in 1975) still has certain characteristics that recall the intimate atmosphere of the kasbah. Hertzberger has become the best known Dutch designer of interrelated living spaces. Both van Eyck and Hertzberger still work individually.

The production of FJ van Gool (born in 1922) and his collaborators Oyevaar and Stolle oscillates between functionality and functionalism, with rigid forms but of undoubted aesthetic value. LJ Heijenrijk (born in 1932) and J. van Stigt (born in 1934) stand out for the skill with which they apply modular design. There are many young architects who are rediscovering traditional forms, especially in the construction of one or two-storey houses: among these we should mention N. Witstok (born in 1930), PP Hammel (born in 1933), H. Klunder (born in 1935) and JH Bosch (born 1939), whose youth hostel in Amsterdam is an undoubtedly remarkable attempt to reconcile modern language with the grandeur of its surroundings, which arose at the turn of the century. Onno Greiner (born 1924), endowed with an extreme simplicity of design, it excels in the construction of social centers, characterized by a particular atmosphere, made of a profound democratic spirit. The work of E. Hartsuyker (born in 1925) is dominated by the idea of ​​what he calls a “wall for living”, which consists in concentrating all household accessories within a rigid wall inserted in a flexible living space. Netherlands Blom (born in 1934), who is undoubtedly the most imaginative of Dutch designers, developed the principle of the kasbah in the project for a housing complex in Hengelo (1971) and recently finished a neighborhood of “houses- tree “(dwellings supported by thin stem elements that support the stairs) in Helmond (1975). J.

NJ Habraken (born in 1928) has developed, over the course of ten years, his principle of the architectural “shell” (the so-called helmet projects) and of the flexibility of the internal partitions that can be built according to the needs of the tenant or the owner. The principle, derived from an idea of ​​Le Corbusier, led to the development of standardized dimensions now widely used, especially in the Federal Republic of Germany. Habraken has built little or nothing, but great is the influence exerted by his teaching. In 1975 he was called to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Netherlands Architecture 1979