Enrico en Luzia Hartsuyker

The Hartsuykers, a single-minded couple, are known in particular for Biopolis, the satellite city, but their name also features in other experiments in the field of housing and urban development.

Enrico Hartsuyker (1925) and Luzia Hartsuyker-Curjel (1926) met in 1944 during their studies at the Technische Hochschule college in Zürich, Switzerland. Almost ten years later they came to Amsterdam, where Enrico had taken on a job at the department of Public Works. They set up an architecture firm, with Enrico concentrating more on large urban development projects and Luzia working in social housing. The idiosyncrasy of their architecture is evident from the many studies they made for residential housing projects. They campaigned for alternative forms of housing and town planning. Their urban development models Biopolis and Hydrobiopolis attracted considerable national and international attention in the 1960s. Their motto was not to split up functions but to integrate them.

Biopolis was a satellite city for The Hague, located in the North Sea opposite the Wassenaar dunes. The city is based on the biopolis principle: a hill city with ascending levels of terraced houses. Their concept of integrating living, working, recreation and traffic are reflected in this utopian plan. Some of these elements they included in subsequent assignments such as an entry for the competition for “De Zonnetrap” in Rotterdam-Lombardijen held in 1980. This project was constructed as a residential hill with homes stacked one above the other.

Typical of the houses designed by Hartsuyker/Curjel is an open space at the centre, hence the description atrium houses, “walk-around” houses none of whose walls abut the exterior line of the house. Small differences in level and voids create a vertical spatial effect. In the 1980s, Luzia Hartsuyker-Curjel in particular became noted for her so-called “woman-friendly homes”, in which traditional hierarchical layouts of houses gave way to spaces with equal status. Houses in which this was applied can be found in Amsterdam, Apeldoorn and IJsselstein.

Enrico Hartsuyker and Luzia Hartsuyker-Curjel wound up their architecture firm in Amsterdam in 1992.


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