Dutch team to reimagine structuralist icon as centerpiece of residential neighborhood

Image courtesy of Certitudo Capital

Dutch architects MVRDV and AHH are to transform a structuralist icon into the centerpiece of a sustainable residential neighborhood in the city of Apeldoorn in central Holland.

The Centraal Beheer was built for a Dutch insurance company and completed in 1972 to a design by Herman Hertzberger, one of the leading exponents of the Structuralist style. Hertzberger is now retired, but his creation will be reused by the company he founded, with the help of MVRDV.

Hertzberger’s design consisted of four quadrants based on a series of 9m cubes, divided by two central streets which form the social heart of the building.

Its remodeled form will be based on the 9m grid, but additions will be made of wood to distinguish it from the original structure.

The project was commissioned by Dutch property developer Certitudo Capital as part of a larger plan to build up to 800 homes on a 3ha plot near Apeldoorn station.

Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRD, said: “It’s a super cool mission. Herman Hertzberger is an important role model for me. When I was studying at Delft University of Technology, he was one of my teachers, along with Aldo van Eyck and Rem Koolhaas – a nice trio. I worked with him twice on InDeSem, the international design seminar he organized.

“His social agenda makes him an inspiring architect for me, and I feel a kinship with him; just as Herman launched a whole new office landscape in the early 70s, so did MVRDV in the early 90s with Villa VPRO. We took the client on a tour of the Central Beheer building and it opened his mind; it became a source of inspiration for our own work. We will certainly retain it as the basis of the transformation.

Arno van den Thillart, Director of Project Development at Certitudo Capital, said: “For us, the focus is, on the one hand, on restoring a landmark and, on the other hand, on improvement of spatial quality. The parties involved are united in this regard, which has accelerated the planning process. Now is the time to get to work.

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