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Jan Verhoeven

25-05-1926 - 26-06-1994

Jan Verhoeven (1926-1994), Herman Hertzberger, Joop van Stigt and Piet Blom are considered the exponents of Structuralism. Building on the ideas of Aldo van Eyck the movement wants to offer an alternative to the objective, large-scale architecture of modernism.

In the early 1960s, Verhoeven studies at the Academie van Bouwkunst in Amsterdam where he is taught by Aldo van Eyck. Van Eyck’s architectural philosophy make a lasting impression upon him. 

Like his tutor, Verhoeven uses geometric forms attempts to reconcile dualities such as: light-shadow, closed-open, large-small and private-collective. This approach is evident in Verhoeven’s private home in Hoevelaken (1965). The design could not be further away from an objective cube of concrete and glass, with its use of brick and wood and tent-like roof. Verhoeven strikes the right balance with his expressive style and the ‘refreshing’ interaction between open and closed. When the third generation of Verhoeven homes are built in Hoevelaken in 1976, the village is known locally as ‘Verhoevelaken’.

Further commissions follow Hoevelaken. Along with Herman Hertzberger, Joop van Stigt and Piet Blom, Verhoeven rapidly comes to be seen as the exponents of structuralism. Building on the ideas of Aldo van Eyck the movement wants to offer an alternative to the objective, large-scale architecture of modernism. The complex geometric structures of their designs revolve around the meeting place. For Verhoeven, the relationship between individual and community is vital. Verhoeven expresses his pivotal concern thus: “The greater the attention for the individual, the better he will function within a community.” He describes this as ‘personalistic socialiasm’. It results in buildings with an emphatic interconnection between public and private areas, which can be seen in the Hofdijk plan in Rotterdam.

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