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Johannes Hendrik van den Broek

04-10-1898 - 06-09-1978

J.H. van den Broek (1898-1978) joins forces with J. B. Bakema in the Rotterdam firm of architects Van den Broek and Bakema, formerly Brinkman and Van der Vlugt. The duo is inspired by the Nieuwe Bouwen school of architecture, and plays a seminal role in post-war architectural history. Their office completes a number of high profile projects, including the Lijnbaan in Rotterdam. 

After training to become a teacher, Van den Broek earns a degree in architectural engineering at the technical college in Delft. In 1927 he founds his own firm in Rotterdam, which primarily works on projects for housing associations and private individuals, such as the dwellings on the Vroesenlaan in the Blijdorp area of Rotterdam.

In 1937, after the death of Van der Vlugt, Van den Broek becomes a partner in the firm, working alongside J.A. Brinkman. Together, they design the departure hall of the Holland-America Line (1937-1938) in Rotterdam. After the bombing of Rotterdam, Van den Broek becomes an avid participant in the debate surrounding post-war reconstruction in the Netherlands. He is advisor to the Adviesbureau Stadsplan Rotterdam (1943) and member of Opbouw Rotterdam, of the preparatory committee of the Bouwcentrum (1944) and of the Kerngroep van de Studiegroep Woningarchitecture (1945-1954). In conjunction with Van Tijen, Brinkman and Maaskant he publishes the survey ‘Woonmogelijkheden in het Nieuwe Rotterdam’ (1941) on new approaches to building in Rotterdam.

Van den Broek is a leading light in the process of institutionalising and academicising post-war residential development. He sits on the advisory boards of the Ministry of Reconstruction and Public Housing (1947), of the Stichting Studiegroep Efficiënte Woningbouw (1947-1965), and heads the formation of the non-profit consumer organisation 'Goed Wonen' (1946) and the Economisch Instituut voor de Bouwnijverheid (EIB) in 1956. In 1947 his achievements are honoured when he is appointed Extraordinary Professor of Architecture at Delft University of Technology.

He is also active on the international architecture scene, as member of the Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA) and the Comité de Liaison des Architectes du Marché Commun. In 1948 J.B. Bakema joins the firm. After Brinkman’s death, the two continue to work under the name Architectenbureau Van den Broek and Bakema as of 1951. The duo is inspired by the Nieuwe Bouwen movement and is a pioneering force in post-war architecture. Van den Broek dies in 1978.

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