Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856-1934)

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.

Hendrik Petrus Berlage

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About his life

Hendrik Petrus Berlage was born on February 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. During his visit to the United States in 1911 , Berlage studied construction by the American architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright and introduced them to Europe. He died on August 12, 1934 in The Hague.

Competition design for a merchant’s fair, Amsterdam, interior, perspective drawing.

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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.
Diamond Workers’ Union building, Berlage, 1899-1900, Amsterdam

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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 thus in the final phase of the architect’s stylistic development.
Haags Gemeentemuseum, Berlage, 1934, The Hague

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Amsterdam Stock Exchange 

Amsterdam Stock Exchange or Beurs van Berlage (1897–1903) is the most celebrated Berlage’s building, 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.

Beurs Van Berlage, Berlage, 1897–1903, Amsterdam

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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 ​​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.

Interior view of Beurs Van Berlage, Berlage, 1897–1903, Amsterdam

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