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Dutch Architecture in the 1960s and 70s: the Structuralist Movement


Admission requirements

See Teaching and Examination Regulations.


Recently there is a new interest in the architecture and social ideas of the architects that in the 1960s and 1970s were part of the so-called Structuralist Movement in the Netherlands. Aldo van Eyck (1918-99) was the first to introduce the basic principles of this movement: buildings that are composed out of repetitive elements that can easily be enlarged or adapted to new functions (f.e. Orphanage, Amsterdam, 1960), but also buildings that are multi-functional, that generate spontaneous social interaction among their users, and that show respect to the needs of people of all ages. Van Eyck himself was strongly inspired by African housing traditions. As a professor at the TU Delft he had a major impact on the younger generation. Architects that were part of the Structuralist Movement are among others Herman Hertzberger (born 1932) (Office Insurance Company Centraal Beheer, Amersfoort, 1972, Piet Blom (1934-99) (‘Cube’dwellings, Helmond and Rotterdam, resp. 1972-76 and 1978-84) and Frans van Klingeren (Cultural Centre de Meerpaal, Dronten, 1965-67). Also the WSD-buildings of the Faculty of Humaniora along the Witte Singel are built according to the principles of Structuralism. They were, in 1979-1981, built by Joop van Stigt (1934-2011), who like Van Eyck was interested in African housing structures (Dogon).

The structuralist architects developed new ways of architectural drawing that broke with the traditions of former generations. Up till now, however, little attention has been paid to these drawings, in which colors play a very important role.

After four introductory lectures by Caroline van Eck (architectural drawing) and Juliette Roding (Dutch Structuralism), there will be eight meetings at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam (with heritage specialist Ellen Smit), where students will study the architectural drawings of a Dutch structuralist architecture of their choice.

Course objectives

  • to get insight in the philosophy, ideals and buildings of the architects of the Structuralist Movement in the Netherlands, with special attention tot heir design practice (architectural drawing);

  • to learn to find, read and evaluate critically the relevant literature on the subject;

  • to reflect and theorize on the subject;

  • to think up and work out a case-study at the Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam;

  • to learn how to handle the delicate source material (drawings, models);

  • to present this case study in class at the Nieuwe Instituut;

  • to act as a referee and to learn to evaluate the presentations of other students;

  • to write a paper.


Please consult the timetable on the MA Arts and Culture website.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture;

  • Seminar.

Course Load

Total course load for the course 10 ec x 28 hours = 280 hours:

  • lectures, 2 hrs p.w. x 4 = 8 hours;

  • seminar at the Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, 2 hrs p.w. x 8 = 16 hours;

  • studying compulsory readings for seminar, 4 hrs p.w. x 12 = 48 hours;

  • writing a draught of the case study = 38 hours;

  • preparing oral presentation and preparing powerpoints = 16 hours;

  • writing of final course paper, 4000 words = 150 hours (reading texts, collecting reseaech material, searching and reading additional literature, composing and writing of paper.

Assessment method

  • first draught case-study (20%);

  • oral presentation (20%);

  • final paper 5000 words (60%)

If one of the first two items (first draft case-study; oral presentation) is insufficient (but not lower than 5,0) this can be compensated by the final paper (but only if 7,0 or more). The final paper should always be awarded with a 6,0 or higher.


Blackboard will be used:

  • to present the student with information of the course;

  • to present the students the powerpoints shown in class and additional study material;

  • as a discussion forum.

Reading list

The reading list will be presented at the beginning of and during the course.


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.




Mw. Dr. J.G. (Juliette) Roding