Hendrik Petrus Berlage Thoughts on Style, 1886–1909
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There is no doubt that the urban form of the city of Hilversum is indebted to an ancient link with the medieval urban tradition. The formal structure of the plan announces in the picturesque grouping and in the free disposal of the parties, only apparently random, that the principle of representation which belongs to the Dutch representative culture and, more generally, of the Nordic people1. However, we can speak of tradition, crossing the limits imposed by the local objective reality, even when we look at the idea of city as proposed by the European rationalist tradition, filtered by the urban experience in the construction of the space gained by architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage in implementing the plan of South Amsterdam.
But there are echoes to the English urban conceptions of the garden city, revisited in the light of the Dutch experience2.
Berlage Hendrik Petrus Thoughts on Style 1886-1909
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, they were part of the most lively National Dutch tradition. Monumentality as Aspiration The plan of Hilversum was compliance with the character of the pre- existing city3.
The signs of the ancient past, the formal structure of the medieval framework and the environmental characteristics are perpetuated in the new form. So the picturesque city fades into the modern city.
However, the new brings with it the experience of the city of South Amsterdam, whose monumental character it interprets. So the picturesque character is added to the 1 Compare in this regard the theory of Henrich Wollflin on the interpretation of the form in relation to the cultural context in which it arises: Wolfflin, H.
Nathan Rogers, E.
In: Nathan Rogers, E. Esperienza dell'architettura, A plan without character is not a plan. Willem Marinus Dudok, 77, cit. The cultural reference in South Amsterdam shows as the monumental is achieved with a principle of order in the organization of urban space that, in the simplicity of the road layout, in the ritual of the building type, hierarchical balance between public and private buildings, organized in an organic and alive way, defines the classical style of the city.
The pattern of the urban buildings that establish a close reciprocal relationship with the lay-out of streets and roads, in a unified whole2, that is associated with the dispositive frame of the plan, is not just the result of a regulatory system with a functional value or the result of a composition that takes good care of the practical aspects of real life, but the way to show the public spirit in the spatial structure3. The idea of "unity in diversity", theorized by Berlage, is fulfilled here, and finds full expression in the creation of autonomous parts that are harmoniously linked by a nexus of democratic collaboration in the overall composition.
We do not deny the value of this at all, but a city created as a single great work of creation should not lose in its architectural appearance, his way of being In contrast to the color, the familiarity and the intimate beauty of the old romantic city, all this leads to a colder and higher architecture beauty that can still be very poetic. This is the poetry of the classical image.
In: Van Bergeijk, H. Architecture, City Planning, Aesthetic, Bologna: Zanichelli Editore. Willem Marinus Dudok, 31, cit. To Berlage the form appears as the result of a logic of internal constitution and that expresses its contents into the formal completeness that characterizes it. The construction of the urban space relies on a method that starts from the study of the housing cell into its constituent parts to arrive to the definition of the block house, in the crystal-clear evidence of the constructive logic, till the characterization of the urban morphology.
Structure and Form of the Plan The expansion of the Hilversum plan develops from a crucial issue that has fed and still feeds the contemporary debate. In other words how to control the irrational growth of the city into the virgin territory of the countryside. Particularly for the city of Hilversum, since the natural landscape is an environmental value worth being preserved. Urban growth starts from the premise of developing the intrinsic potential of the natural landscape within the city. Not so much through the provision of parks distributed in a scattered and isolated fashion, in the best tradition of Anglo-Saxon, French or German, but in an organic whole, where the green, intimate mediation between road and home, becomes an integral part of the entire urban pattern.
Finding the highest expression in a green band which surrounds the city in an unlimited way. Thus defining the urban limits and suggesting, perhaps, the lost image of the traditional closed city. The plan also accepts the model of the medieval formal structure of which it develops the potential from the design of the irregular layout of the roads. This is the backbone of the new residential districts and the industrial plants, they do not develop according to the functionalist principle of zoning, but in the harmonious integration of housing, industry and urban green spaces.
The distribution of the buildings in space and time is not programmed a priori. The logic is that of a program plan which is extremely flexible to the needs of the community, respectful to the environmental and has historical values, in a structure where the general form is the overall driving factor capable of giving meaning to the individual parts.
Within this logic, the construction by parts defines individual residential neighbourhoods, each with its own functional autonomy, but in formal relationship with the other parts of the city. So, the principle for the design of the districts is based on the autonomy and the search for a fair reciprocal relationship with the other parts of the city. The solution of the residential neighbourhoods of the working class is in continuity with the typological studies of the best Dutch tradition that comes from the study of human cell progresses to the definition of the unit of the neighbourhoods, to the morphological characterization of the entire city.
Padova: Cleup. A decisive turning point that, with its key role in the process of the improvement of social housing, reflected the social, economic and productive achievements in the country. The intervention of the municipality with the preparation of implementing tools, was supported not only by the economic but also the legislature of the central government, the direct participation of cooperatives and building societies coordinated by the municipal administration and the strong and healthy pragmatism of Mrinus Willem Dudok in the institutional capacity as Head of the Public Works, formed the choral premise for the achievement and realization of the entire building plan.
The formal structure of the district is moving the boundary between the traditional idea of the compact city and the experience of the garden city. Of course there is an obvious debt towards the Anglo-Saxon culture in reference to the theory of the garden city, but it is more an affinity that an explicit formal reference.
The residential neighbourhoods are closer to the idea of the court block proposed by Berlage in the South Amsterdam plan, rather than the idea of a house surrounded by greenery. As in the Berlagian residential block unit the general idea of the courtyard type is re-evoked, but interpreted in the light of the picturesque and romantic character of the location. This means the repetition, according to the principle of alternation of repetition and variation1, of brick houses, two stories with a pitched roof, merged to the perimeter of the block in order to constitute an expressive front facing towards the street.
Thus finding a close analogy with the Berlagian idea of the traditional2 and compact city. The city in Dudok's mind does not propose the chance of unpredictable shapes, but seems to be living inside the mirage of the historical city whose formal structure still seems to provide certainty to the flow of the rhythms of human life in the twentieth century. The road network has a fundamental role in the definition of the formal structure of the residential neighborhoods.
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The arrangement of the pattern of the buildings is organized by a triple hierarchical system of roads that provide adequate permeability between one side and the other. From an order of the main roads, which fixes the limits of the neighbourhood within the city, you go to a subsystem of roads that organizes neighbourhoods into blocks, until you come to a further warping of road that leads to the houses inside the block. The research moved by Dudok towards a refinement of collective housing is measured by instances of social progress made by the Dutch social-democratic thought. The improvement of the material and spiritual life of the working class is a prerequisite to deliver to the society not only practical but also beautiful social housing.
Dudok, W. The Primary Role of the School in the Construction of Urban Space Certainly the public buildings that make up primary urban facts in the composition of the city have a key role in building up the site of residential neighborhoods. In this sense we can understand the many school buildings that Dudok realized for the city of Hilversum. Essential tools for the operation of the entire district, hinges around which life in the residential complex takes place, they represent the new centres of democratic life and social life.
Places destined to the cultural development of the community, for this reason take on the urban role and social significance that once were entrusted to the city's main public buildings such as the town hall or the church. In other words, focal points, the pivot of the whole district and composition of the entire city, which appear not so much as the result of a sterile ritual and mimetic and formal repetition of the forms belonging to the tradition, but the discovery of an "invention of design" that measures, from time to time, the capacity of the project- hence its validity-to build urban scenarios able to meet the demands of life posed by society.
Therefore, no reference to a well-established typological form, inadequate to express the social and architectural changes, but interpretation of ancient forms still considered valid to represent the instances of their time. So the old fades in the new stratifying the forms with meanings and values that, for this reason, find an ancient link with the memory and history of the city.
The most authentic medieval tradition creeps in the intimacy of the project when composing urban spaces through a clear exposition of functions to the urban public. That is, when the proportions of the space, with its symbolic values, are realized according to a procedure that moves from the inner conception. Through this finding a close analogy with the concept of space gained by Wright and assimilated in the Netherlands through the work of Hendrik Petrus Berlage. Geranium School, Figure 3. Oranjes School, Figure 4.
Rembrandt School, Figure 5.