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Dutch Structuralism is one of the most important Dutch contributions to modern architecture in the second half of the twentieth century. This architectural movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s distanced itself from the technocratic planning that guided the post-war reconstruction of the country. It called for attention to the poetic and emotional side of architecture in order to achieve a fully humane living environment. The relationship between spatial configuration and human patterns of use formed a new vocabulary. Many structuralist buildings attempt to achieve a social space that stimulates spontaneous encounters and human interaction.

The archive of Het Nieuwe Instituut contains work by famous as well as lesser known architects belonging to the movement. They include Piet Blom, Theo Bosch, Gert Boon, Paul de Ley, Joop van Stigt, Hans Tupker en Jan Verhoeven. Furthermore, from 2014 onwards Het Nieuwe Instituut acquired the archive of Herman Hertzberger, one of the most important protagonists of structuralism. Structuralism is currently considered ‘young heritage’ and research is being conducted into its cultural-historical value.

Open Structures: An Introductory Dossier on Dutch Structuralism
Volume #35, April 2013

The publication was the outcome of a collaboration between The Berlage, TU Delft, Het Nieuwe Instituut and Volume. It contains interviews, statements and design proposals, both historical and contemporary ones. The dossier includes the results of a Master Class held at The Berlage, and contributions by Dirk van den Heuvel, Tom Avermaete, Herman Hertzberger, Arjen Oosterman, and Brendan Cormier, among others.

The Structuralist Architectural Drawing 1955-1980

During archival research into the work of architects such as Piet Blom, Jan Verhoeven and Herman Hertzberger for the exhibition Structuralism, we encountered drawings that deviated from the conventional plans, sections and elevations. Instead they comprised abstract structures, geometric patterns with bright colours, visualisations of network-like cities, grids, collages and booklets. Intrigued about the origins and significance of these drawings, curator Ellen Smit initiated a research project with the help of an NWO museum grant. What were these architects actually drawing and why in this manner?