A building should be more than a sum of functions, architecture should make human activities possible and promote social contacts. An important aspect of structuralism is that the buildings are designed from smaller units, usually of the same shape, which repeat themselves in one way or another. The smaller units then have to do with the human size and of course together form a structure, as for example with a crystal lattice of a mineral, but with more freedom in the overall form and with common areas to emphasize the social aspect. A characteristic of some structuralist buildings is the use of cubes.
Structuralist projects share the designers' appetite for experimentation and the pleasure of designing homes and offices in a particularly spatial way. Voids, split-level sections, inner streets, flexible floor plans, affordable and characterful homes, attention to traditional details and honest, natural-looking materials are shared ingredients of this special architectural period.
It was architect Herman Hertzberger who introduced the term structuralism in 1966 when presenting his competition design for the Valkenswaard Town Hall.
After that, the term was gradually adopted in the professional literature and was described as an architectural movement from the 1959-1980 period. In structuralist buildings, small-scale, mixed functions, communality, equal social relations and adaptability by users come together.
The designers responded with this to the separation of functions and the planned and technocratic building practice that were characteristic of the reconstruction of the Netherlands after the Second World War. They found it too sterile, too one-sided and too rigid and they formulated a poetic and more humane alternative, of which the article 'The story of another thought' by Aldo van Eyck in the magazine Forum (1959) was an important driver.
aldo van eyck - herman hertzberger - aldo va eyck - herman hertzberger
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