Viewing the Amsterdam School of Architecture by Bike

 

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Recently, I was able to take some time in Amsterdam to see architecture that I really admire: buildings known collectively as the Amsterdam School of Architecture. If you’ve been to Amsterdam, you’ve been in the central area of the city with beautiful 400-year-old buildings surrounding the ring of canals. A little further out are buildings, primarily housing, built in the 1910s and 1920 that had a high level of design for the working class. Responding to a need to improve living conditions for residents of Amsterdam at the time, talented young architects–notably Michel de Klerk, Piet Kramer, Joahn Melchior van der Mey, and Hedrik Berlage–were enabled by idealistic city leaders, wealthy developers, and visionary housing associations to create a body of work that became known as the Amsterdam School of Architecture and enabled the city to be known then as a mecca of new housing and urban planning. Many of the building are in excellent condition and inhabited today by diverse residents of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam School of Architecture buildings primarily have brick construction with sometimes complicated masonry with a rounded or organic appearance.  Elements such as decorative masonry, art glass, wrought ironwork, and integrated architectural sculpture characterize the work.

I took an afternoon to bike through Amsterdam to look at some of the best examples. Here are a few of my photographs.

 

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Het Schip is one of the best or most well-known examples of the Amsterdam School of Architecture. This housing block was designed by Michel de Klerk, and completed 1921. The motto was “Nothing is beautiful enough for the worker who has had to live without beauty for so long.”

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Verboden! (look at the hand) Inside what was originally a post office within the social housing complex Het Schip. The doorway leads to the postmaster’s office. This operated as a post office until 1999.

 

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Window at Het Schip, 1921.

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Het Schip, 1921.

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Het Schip, 1921

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Het Schip, 1921

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Het Schip, 1921

 

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Het Schip, 1921

 

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Housing in western Amsterdam.

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Housing on Churchilllaan, 1920s.

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De Dageraad housing by P.L.Takstraat in Amsterdam, 1920-23.

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De Dageraad housing by P.L.Takstraat in Amsterdam, 1920-23.

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