For several years in the 1960s, painter Joost Baljeu and architect Dick van Woerkom collaborated on projects aimed at achieving a synthesis of the arts. Their ambition was to fuse painting, sculpture and architecture into a single, seamless whole. In pursuit of this goal, they produced several scale models for residential dwellings and studio homes.
The collaborative projects of Baljeu and Van Woerkom are similar to those of other artists interested in a geometric-abstract genre of art working in the Netherlands before and after the Second World War. Baljeu’s familiarity with the work of his predecessors is revealed in the articles he publishes on this form of artistic expression. He writes about the avant-garde pre-war movement De Stijl, to which Piet Mondriaan and architect J.J.P. Oud belonged. Baljeu draws particular inspiration from the collaborative projects Theo Van Doesburg and architect Cornelis van Eesteren carried out in 1923.
In practice, the quest of Baljeu and Van Woerkom to create an artistic synthesis meets with practical objections, especially from clients, and many projects are not realised. The 1961 design for a family home (which was never built) consists of floors, roofs, walls and facades layered over and adjacent to each other. The scale model of painted wood is more a visualisation of a spatial construction or a three-dimensional painting than a model of a buildable home.