Inspired by the American innovators Sullivan and Wright, a prominent Dutch architect, Hendrik Petrus Berlage became on of the most influential figures of European Early-Modern Architecture.
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About his life
Hendrik Petrus Berlage was born on February 21, 1856 in Amsterdam. Berlage studied architecture in Zürich, Switzerland. After a European tour, he started his business in Amsterdam in 1889. Starting in the early 1900s, he was involved in urban planning for residential areas in many Dutch cities. During his visit to the United States in 1911, Berlage studied the construction of American architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright and introduced them to Europe. He died on 12 August 1934 in The Hague.
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What are his major works?
- Amsterdam Stock Exchange or Beurs van Berlage (1897–1903)
- 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.
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- Villa in Groningen 1894
- Office building in The Hague 1895
- Villa Henny in The Hague 1898
- Plan for Amsterdam South 1901
- Villa Berlage in The Hague 1914
- St. Hubertus hunting lodge in Otterlo 1914-1920 (today is a part of Museo Kröller-Müller)
- Municipal Museum of The Hague 1919-1934
- Church in The Hague 1926
- Gemeentemuseum Den Haag was built in The Hague in 1934 and is thus in the final phase of the architect’s stylistic development.
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Amsterdam Stock Exchange
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange or Beurs van Berlage (1897–1903) is Berlage’s most celebrated building, which has revealed his respect for the expressive power of constructive arched masonry. The robustness of the details and his love for masonry and clear expressive functions (such as the kneelers from which the low-arched arches in the atrium spring, and the junctions between the supporting structure and metal trusses) made him a precursor of the Amsterdam School, and his writings earned him the respect of aspiring young members of the avant-garde.
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How can we identify Berlage’s style?
Berlage was inspired by the combination of Henry Hobson Richardson’s neo-Romanesque brick architecture and the iron structures used in the brick of the Castle of the Three Geckos in Domenech y Montaner. He also used the ideas of Viollet-le-Duc in his project for the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. Load-bearing bare brick walls and the idea of the primacy of space have become the guiding principles of Hollandse Zakelijkheid. After 1911, Berlage was particularly influenced by American technology and design and found particular resonance with the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. He is considered a mediator between traditionalists and modernists.
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