The New Objectivity. Van Nelle Fabriek by Brinkman & Van der Vlugt

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Johannes Brinkman. Leendert van der Vlugt.
Project team
Lead architects.- Johannes Brinkman, Leendert Van der Vlugt. Associated architect.- Mart Stam. Renovation architects.- Wessel de JongeBroekbakema.
Civil engineer.- J.G. Wiebenga.
Van Nelle company.- Kees van der Leeuw.
Built area.- 60,000 sqm.
Start date.- 1925. End date.- 1930. Renovation.- 2000-2002. 2018.
Van Nelleweg 1, 3044 BC Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Ko Hon Chiu Vincent. NAI Collection Database - Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Johannes Andreas Brinkman. Leendert Cornelis van der Vlugt. Brinkman and Van der Vlugt

The Brinkman and Van der Vlugt architectural office, one of the most important and successful in the Netherlands between the wars, was the primary exponent of Nieuwe Bouwen. Johannes Brinkman handled the technical aspects and left the design largely to Leendert van der Vlugt. In the early days, the firm’s main client was the coffee, tea and tobacco company Van Nelle. Brinkman and Van der Vlugt designed its iconic factory building in Rotterdam as well as sites in Leiden and Utrecht. They also designed homes for the company’s directors, including the Van der Leeuw and Sonneveld houses.

Johannes Andreas Brinkman (Rotterdam, 1902)

Son of architect Michiel Brinkman, he began working in his office while studying at the Technical University of Delft. After his death in 1925 he continued his study, incorporating Leendert Cornelis van der Vlugt. With him he formed an active studio between 1925 and 1936 - the date of Van der Vlugt's death -, which on occasions also collaborated with Willem van Tijen. Subsequently, Brinkman partnered with Johannes Hendrik van der Broek.

Brinkman and Van der Vlugt's main work was the Van Nelle tobacco, tea and coffee factory in Rotterdam (1926-1929), to which were added the headquarters of the Theosophical Union in Amsterdam (1925-1926) and the headquarters of Van Nelle in Leiden (1925-1927), as well as several residential buildings: the Van der Leeuw villa (1927-1928), the Sonneveld house (1932-1933) and the Boevé house (1934), all in Rotterdam. Another emblematic work of his was the Feyenoord stadium in Rotterdam-South (1935-1936). They also designed a telephone booth (1931) which over time has become an iconic element of the Dutch urban landscape.

With Van Tijen they built the Bergpolder building in Rotterdam in 1934, a ten-story housing complex with a steel structure and wooden walls and floors.

Leendert Cornelis van der Vlugt (Rotterdam, 1894)

Van der Vlugt was a Dutch architect who studied between 1910 and 1915 at the Academy of Fine Arts and Technical Sciences in Rotterdam. After several years of work in different architectural firms, in 1919 he settled on his own account.

He designed houses in Beukelsdijk, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (1921), the Higher Technical School and the Industrial School (1922), both in Groningen.

From 1925 he worked with Johannes Andreas Brinkman (1902-1949), son of the architect Michiel Brinkman, who had studied at the Higher Technical School in Delft. In the shared office Brinkman was in charge of organizational and technical matters and Van der Vlugt of architectural matters.

In the first stage of their collaboration they built the Theosophical Temple in Amsterdam (1927) and the Van der Leeuw House in Rotterdam (1928-1929). A wide window strip crosses the smooth front of the building and the garden facade, with a two-storey greenhouse, is fully glazed.

Later they built several houses, such as the De Bruyn house in Schiedam (1930-1931) and the Sonneveld house in Rotterdam (1929-1933). Despite its dimensions, the Van Nelle tobacco factory in Rotterdam (1926-1930), also built under the International Style sign, is light and not heavy due to its transparent mirror-glass curtain wall facade suspended in front of the metallic structure. A circular glass roof houses a cafeteria. The facade of the office building, accessed by a glass corridor, is arched.

The houses of the Bergpolder discoidal blue-collar skyscraper in Rotterdam (1933-1934, in collaboration with Willem van Tijen) open onto galleries. The stairs and the elevator are located behind the side façade, fully glazed, existing in the entrance part. On the death of Van der Vlugt, Brinkman worked in collaboration with Johannes Hendrik van der Broek.

Mart Stam

Mart Stam (1899) was a Dutch architect and industrial designer born in Purmerend. After studying drawing in Amsterdam, he worked between 1919 and 1924 with Marinus Jan Granpré Molière in Rotterdam, Max Taut and Hans Poelzig in Berlin, and Karl Moser in Zurich. In ABC magazine. Beiträge zum Bauen, edited in collaboration with Hans Schmidt, he published articles on design, architecture and furniture and also perspective drawings of functionalist buildings.

Between 1925 and 1928, while working in the law firms of Johannes Andreas Brinkman and Leendert Comelis van der Vlugt, he collaborated on the Van Nelle tobacco factory project in Rotterdam (1925-1930). Around the same time he accepted an invitation from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to build a rigidly articulated group of semi-detached houses with a roof terrace for the Weissenhof housing estate in Stuttgart (1927). However, his steel tube chair and accessories designed for the occasion did not offer the elastic effect of the Mies suspension chair. From the same dates are the Hellerhof housing estate in Frankfurt am Main (1928-1932) and a nursing home in the same city (1928-1930), a two-story white building, with an H-shaped plan and largely glazed on the side. South, because while the functionalist dwellings had a north-south orientation to optimize the incidence of the sun in the morning and in the afternoon, Stam conceived an asylum adapted to the other demands of use.

In 1930 Stam emigrated to the Soviet Union in the company of Ernst May and other architects; there he worked as a town planner and designed, among other things, a plan for Magnltogorsk. When he found that his visionary ideas were practically uninteresting in the Soviet Union, he returned with his wife Lotte Stam-Beese to Holland in 1934.

Between 1939 and 1953 he directed the training schools in Amsterdam, Dresden, and East Berlin and in the 1950s he built the Geilustreerde Pers office building in Amsterdam (1957-1959). From 1925 he worked with Johannes Andreas Brinkman (1902-1949), son of the architect Michiel Brinkman, who had studied at the Higher Technical School in Delft. Stam passed away on February 21, 1986, at the age of 87 in Goldbach.



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