Postwar reconstruction icon. Groot Handelsgebouw by Huig Maaskant and Willem van Tijen

More information

Huig Maaskant. Willem van Tijen. Renovation.- J. van Stigt. André van Stigt.
Van Eesteren. Dura. HBM. BAM. De Kondor. Renovation.- Strukton BV
Plot area.- 128,000 sqm. Built area.- 445,000 sqm.
Construction.- € 11,100,000. Renovation.- € 63,530,000.
Project.- 1945. Start of construction.- 1947. End of construction.- 1953. Expansion.- 1961. Renovation.- 2000-2005.
Stationsplein 45, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
A.J. van der Wal. Van Duinen National Archive / ANEFO. Joop van Bilsen. Herbert Behrens. Jan Voets. J.D. Noske. Ossip van Duivenbode. Frans Blok. Ary Groeneveld. Janvan Helleman.

Huig Aart Maaskant

Huig Maaskant was one of the most important reconstruction architects in the Netherlands, and in Rotterdam in particular, after the Second World War. Furthermore, he was one of the first architects to deal with the aesthetic side of industrial buildings. His buildings are characterized by their large scale, monumentality, and substantial details.

Maaskant built the most important buildings for him in Rotterdam. With the Groothandelsgebouw, the Lijnbaanflats, the Hilton hotel and the Euromast, he contributed greatly to the image of the new Rotterdam. Other well-known buildings in Rotterdam are the Adriaan Volkerhuis in Oostmaaslaan, the South Collective Building in Zuidplein, and the Technikon school complex. Outside of Rotterdam, Maaskant designs, among other things, the Scheveningen pier (1961), the KNVB sports hall in Zeist (1965) and the provincial house in Den Bosch (1971).

Maaskant was born on August 17, 1907 in Rotterdam. In his own city, he studies architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Technical Sciences. After his studies, he began his career as an architect with Jos de Jonge (1887-1965), whose office he soon had to leave due to the economic crisis. In 1935, Maaskant began working for Willem van Tijen (1894-1974), with whom he partnered in 1937, building mainly industrial and commercial buildings. The most famous is the Groothandelsgebouw in Weena in Rotterdam.

With Van Tijen, Maaskant comes into contact with Nieuwe Bouwen. Van Tijen belongs to the Rotterdam group of architects de Opbouw, a Dutch CIAM movement. He is part of the mainstream ideological movement of the Nieuwe Bouwen movement, which puts social housing first. Maaskant's preference for business architecture over more social housing is one of the reasons that led to the split with Van Tijen after eighteen years of collaboration.

After his departure from Van Tijen in 1955, Maaskant ran an architectural office for just five years. In 1960 he teamed up with his most important collaborators PW van Dommelen, J. Kroos and Ir. H. Senf. This office, Maaskant Van Dommelen Kroos and Senf Architecten, became one of the largest in the Netherlands.

Willem Van Tijen

Willem van Tijen was born on February 1, 1894 in Wormerveer. From 1907 to 1914, he attended HBS and the Hilversum gymnasium. After graduating from high school, he moved to Amsterdam, where he would study law. After some travels in Russia, Sumatra, and the United States, he and his wife went to Bandoeng in 1920, where he studied irrigation engineering at the Special Technical School until 1924.

Due to illness, Van Tijen and his wife returned to the Netherlands in 1926. Together with A. Plate he founded NV. Volkswoningbouw Rotterdam, a public housing company for which he designed several projects together with L.C. van der Vlugt. In 1929, Van Tijen partnered with Rotterdam structural engineer J.H. van den Broek and subsequently opened his own office.

From 1937 to 1954, Van Tijen was associated with HA Maaskant. Several "well-known" architects worked in the office, such as L.A. Hoogstraaten (until 1946), E.F. Groosman (until 1948), W. Buma (around 1950) and W. Wissing (1947-1955). In 1955, Van Tijen, together with M. Boom and J. Posno, formed the Van Tijen, Boom & Posno working group, which grew to become the Van Tijen, Boom, Posno & Van Randen architecture studio at the end of the 1960s.

Over the years, in addition to the people mentioned above, Van Tijen frequently collaborated with other architects, such as J.A. Brinkman, S.J. van Embden, C.J.F. Karsten, F. Klein, D. Melchior, B. Merkelbach, G.T. Rietveld, R. Romke de Vries, M.A. Stam, C.I.A. Stam-Beese and M.B. van Wensveen.



Our selection