Inspired by the american innovators Sullivan and Wright, a prominent Dutch architect, Hendrik Petrus Berlage became on of the most influential figure of European Early-Modern Architecture.
About his life
Hendrik Petrus Berlage was born on Feb. 21, 1856 in Amsterdam. Berlage studied architecture in Zürich, Switz. Following a European tour, he began his practice in Amsterdam in 1889. Beginning in the early 1900s, he carried out city planning for residential areas in a number of Dutch cities. On a visit to the U.S. in 1911, Berlage studied American building American architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright and introduced them to Europe. He died on Aug. 12, 1934 in The Hague.
What were his major works?
Berlage’s most celebrated building is the Amsterdam Stock Exchange or Beurs van Berlage (1897–1903), which revealed his respect for the expressive power of constructional arched brickwork. The robust detailing and his love of brickwork and clear expressive functions (such as the kneelers from which the segmental arches in the hall spring, and the junctions between load-bearing structure and metal trusses) made him a precursor of the Amsterdam School, while his writings earned him the respect of the young, aspiring members of the avant-garde.
Also, Berlage created the Algemeenen Nederlandschen Diamantbewerkersbond or Diamond Workers’ Union building in Amsterdam and it was opened in 1900. Berlage’s design was inspired by Italian people’s palaces.
One other such achievement is the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, built in The Hague in 1934 andthus in the final phase of the architect’s stylistic development.
How can we identify Berlage’s style?
Berlage was influenced by the Neo-Romanesque brickwork architecture of Henry Hobson Richardson and of the combination of structures of iron seen with brick of the Castle of the Three Geckos of Domènech i Montaner. This influence is visible in his design for the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, for which he would also draw on the ideas of Viollet-le-Duc. The load-bearing bare brick walls and the notion of the primacy of space, and of walls as the creators of form, would be the constitutive principles of the Hollandse Zakelijkheid. After 1911, Berlage was especially influenced by American technology and design and he found particular resonance with the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. He is considered the intermediary between the Traditionalists and the Modernists.