An integral component of any research about Ge…

An integral component of any research about Gerrit Rietveld is the Rietveld-Schröder-Archief at the Central Museum in Utrecht. The museum manages it since 1985 and in 1988 staged an exhibition showcasing very interesting pieces of the archive that are not the obvious choices. The present (tiny) catalogue was published alongside of it and collects just these pieces: besides the Rietveld-Schröder House it shows lesser-known interiors, furniture designs and also one architectural project located on the island of Curacao. These lesser-known projects one the one hand demonstrate the very depth of the archive but most importantly the versatility of Gerrit Rietveld who indulged in all kinds of projects, small or large, architecture, furniture or interior design. Another puzzle piece for my Rietveld library!

I’ve read quite a number of monographs o…

I’ve read quite a number of monographs on artists, architects, designers etc. and of course some are better, some are worse but Michelle Provoost’s monograph on the Dutch architect Hugh Maaskant (1907-77) surely is one of the best. Painstakingly researched and at the same time highly readable Provoost with “Hugh Maaskant – Architect of Progress”, published in 2013 by NAi010 Publishers, wrote the reference work on an architect whose buildings are an important part of postwar Netherlands.

After finishing his studies at Rotterdamse Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten en Technische Wetenschappen Maaskant from 1937 until 1955 worked together with Willem van Tijen (1894-1974), a phase during which they e.g. designed the Groothandelsgebouw in Rotterdam. Nonetheless Maaskant’s most significant buildings were realized during his independent practice after 1955, among them the Pier in Scheveningen, the Euromast in Rotterdam or the Johnson Wax building in Mijdrecht, all of them landmarks until today.

Provoost organizes her book along typological chapters that at the same time represent societal developments in bureaucracy, tourism or technology, a very smart and insightful structure that connects architecture and Dutch postwar society, a society that until today struggles with Maaskant’s often monumental designs. As already indicated the book is among the highlights of contemporary monograph writing and should be part of the libraries of architects and architectural historians alike.