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Dutch Profiles: Herman Hertzberger

Humanist Architecture
No fancy facades

For the 80-year-old architect Herman Hertzberger the exterior of a building is not the main focus. So, no fancy facades that express power or endorse existing hierarchies.

Since the sixties Hertzberger designs collective buildings, like schools, cultural institutions and office spaces, in which the individual is free to create his own place and – at the same time – is stimulated to meet others in open spaces.

Hertzberger's career really took off with his design for the headquarters of insurance company Centraal Beheer. The whole building consists of uniform, open cubes that emphasize the equality of the employees. Its design also enables fluid transitions between public and private spaces. After the completion of the building employees were allowed to bring their own furniture to their offices, creating a true, interior design competition. With this building Hertzberger presents himself undeniable as a creator of common space.

Not surprisingly, designing school-buildings has been one of Hertzberger main preoccupations. An important part of Hertzberger's designs is “functional flexibility”, meaning: buildings must designed in a way that they can be easily transformed to meet the demands of changing times and ideas.

Credits

Commissioning editor Submarine: Geert van de Wetering
Producer: Rosa van Tienen
Research: Liselotte Francken
Director: Marieke Helmus
Camera: Pierre Rezus
Sound: Erik Leek
Editor: Dominique Kools
Colour correction: Editpoint
Music/Sound Design: Pastelle Music

Produced by Submarine, Femke Wolting & Bruno Felix
Commissioned by DutchDFA

The Dutch Profiles series was made as part of the Dutch Design Fashion Architecture (DutchDFA) programme, which ended in 2013. The series was then transferred to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which published it on ARTtube.