One of the most important Dutch architects and theoreticians of the modern age, Herman Hertzberger (1932) graduated with a degree in engineering and architecture as a pupil of Aldo van Eyck.
He opened his own studio in 1958, but as a student he had already won a competition to design a student residence (1959-1966) in Amsterdam.
This project and the expansion of the LinMij factory (1964) already contained numerous recurrent elements of his future production: the possibility of modifying the building’s functions over time, the microcosmos (the residence contains a restaurant, a bookshop, a bar and rooms for 250 students) and the “dynamic equilibrium between the individual and the community which Hertzberger puts at the centre of his work” (Rossi).
A key member of the structuralist movement, Hertzberger also had an important career as a teacher and theoretician, teaching at the Universities of Amsterdam, Delft and Geneva and working with Forum, an important structuralist magazine, between 1959 and 1963.
His experience in the so-called Forumgroup led Hertzberger to build projects that seek to recover the “human dimension” of buildings, combating anonymous urban sprawl. This is the key to interpretation of his famous buildings for a thousand employees at Central Beheer (1969-1972), “symbol of a new way of combining work and life without limits and hierarchies”, and the Ministry of Social Affairs at The Hague (1979-1990).
Hertzberger built many school buildings during his long career, including the Montessori School in Delft (1966, expanded repeatedly); the Apollo (1983) and De Evenaar (1986) schools in Amsterdam; Polygoon in Almere (1992) and Anna Frank school in Papendrecht (1994).
In the nineties two enormous projects stand out in his production: the Gebaute Landschaft Officepark in Freising (Germany) and, above all, Chassé Theatre in Breda, described as almost “expressionist”.
His writings on architecture include Lessons for students in Architecture (1991), an anthology of articles and lectures collected since 1973.
Herman Hertzberger selected works and projects
- Edifici per il Water Management and Sewerage Department, Amsterdam (Holland), 2005
- Complessi residenziali, Düren (Germania), 1997
- Teatro Markant, Uden (Holland), 1996
- Centro teatrale, L’Aia (Holland), 1993
- Biblioteca e scuola di musica, Breda (Holland), 1993
- Sede dell’Ufficio Brevetti del Benelux, L’aia (Holland), 1991
- Ministero degli Affari Sociali, L’Aia (Holland), 1990
- Scuola De Evenaar, Amsterdam (Holland), 1986
- Scuole Apollo, Amsterdam (Holland), 1983
- Centro musicale Vredenburg, Utrecht (Holland), 1978
- Case Diagonal, Delft (Holland), 1971
- Casa per anziani De Drie Hoven, Amsterdam (Holland), 1974
- Uffici della Centraal Beheer, Apeldoorn (Holland), 1972
- Scuola Montessori, Delft (Holland), 1966 e succ. ampliamenti
- Casa dello studente, Amsterdam (Holland), 1966
- Ampliamento fabbrica LinMij, Amsterdam (Holland), 1964
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