AMSTERDAM SCHOOL. Wattjes, J. G.: NIEUW-NEDERLANDSCHE BOUWKUNST. Amsterdam: Uitgevers-Maatschappij “Kosmos,” 1924.

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J. G. Wattjes

J. G. Wattjes: NIEUW-NEDERLANDSCHE BOUWKUNST. Amsterdam: Uitgevers-Maatschappij “Kosmos,” 1924. First edition. Text is in Dutch. Folio. Quarter-cloth with decorated paper coverd boards.
x, 10, [2] pp., 140 plates, 16 leaves of plans. Vintage handwritten note tipped onto front free endpaper. Faint dampstain to lower corner and fore edge of early textblock, with neither text nor images affected. Board edges lightly worn with light wear overall. A good or better copy of this magnificient and thorough photographic survey.

9.5 x 12.25 hardcover book with 22 pages of introductory text followed by 140 black and white plates and 16 pages of floor plans. Subtitled Een Verzameling van Fotografische Afbeeldingen van Nederlandsche Moderne Bouwwerken met Plattegronden door Prof. Ir. J. G. Wattjes Hoogleeraar aan de Technische Hoogeschool te delft bijeengebracht en van inleiding voorzien [New Dutch Architecture. A Collection of Photographic Images of Modern Dutch Buildings with Plans]. A thorough photographic survey of the buildings that originated the Amsterdam School of International Architecture.

Includes work by Ch. Bartels, H. P. Berlage, C. J. Blaauw, B. T. Boeyinga, Co Brandes, Ir. G. C. Bremer, Ir. B. Bijvoet & Ir. J. Duiker, G. F. La Croix, J. Crouwel, W. M. Dudok, J. J. Gort, Ir. J. Gratama, Dr. Ir. G. W. Van Heukelom, G. J. Jacobs, A. J. Jansen, M. Kamerlingh, M. De Klerk, P. L. Kramer, W. Kromhout, A. J. Kropholler, J. Van Laren, H. C. Lelie, Ir. J. Limburg, J. M. Luthmann, W. A. Maas & L. J. K. Zonnveld, Ir. H. F. Mertens, J. M. Van Der Mey, J. J. P. Oud, Postma & Hoogstraten, Publieke Werken Amsterdam, G. J. Rutgers, J. A. Snellebrand & A. Eybink, H. F. Symons, P. Vorkink & Jac. Ph. Wormser, Jan Wils, H. Th. Wijdeveld.<p>

The Amsterdam School  was a style of architecture that arose from 1910 through about 1930 in the Netherlands. Buildings of the Amsterdam School were characterized by brick construction with complicated masonry with a rounded or organic appearance, relatively traditional massing, and the integration of an elaborate scheme of building elements inside and out: decorative masonry, art glass, wrought ironwork, spires or "ladder" windows (with horizontal bars), and integrated architectural sculpture. The aim was to create a total architectural experience, interior and exterior.

Imbued with socialist ideals, the Amsterdam School style was often applied to working-class housing estates, local institutions and schools. For many Dutch towns Hendrik Berlage designed the new urban schemes, while the architects of the Amsterdam School were responsible for the buildings. With regard to the architectural style, Michel de Klerk had a different vision than Berlage. In the magazine "Bouwkundig Weekblad 45/1916" Michel de Klerk criticized Berlage's recent buildings in the style of Dutch Traditionalism. In this context, the Stock Exchange by Berlage of 1905 can be seen as the starting point of Traditionalist architecture.

From 1920 to 1930 different parallel movements developed in the Netherlands:

  • Traditionalism (Kropholler, partly Berlage)
  • Expressionism (de Klerk, Kramer)
  • De Stijl (Rietveld, Oud, van Doesburg with manifesto De Stijl/1917 against the "Modern Baroque" of the Amsterdam School)
  • Rationalism (van Eesteren, van Tijen, Merkelbach with manifesto De-8/1927 against the Amsterdam School)
  • Constructivism (Duiker, van der Vlugt)
  • The specific Brick-Cubism by Dudok and Berlage.

The Amsterdam School had its origins in the office of architect Eduard Cuypers. Although Cuypers was not a progressive architect himself, he gave his employees plenty of opportunity to develop. The three leaders of the Amsterdam School Michel de Klerk, Johan van der Mey and Piet Kramer all worked for Cuypers until about 1910. In 1905 Amsterdam was the first city to establish a building code, and the city hired Johan van der Mey afterwards, in the special position as "Aesthetic Advisor,” to bring artistic unity and vision to its built environment.

Van der Mey's major commission, the 1912 cooperative-commercial Scheepvaarthuis (Shipping House), is considered the starting point of the movement, and the three of them collaborated on that building. The most Amsterdam School buildings are found in this city. The movement and its followers played an important role in Berlage's overall plans for the expansion of Amsterdam.

The most important architects and virtuoso artists of the Amsterdam School were Michel de Klerk and Piet Kramer. Other members included Jan Gratama (who gave it its name), Berend Tobia Boeyinga, P. H. Endt, H. Th. Wijdeveld, J. F. Staal, C. J. Blaauw, and P. L. Marnette. The journal Wendingen ("Windings" or "Changes"), published between 1918 and 1931, was the magazine of the Amsterdam School movement.

After De Klerk died in 1923, the style lost its importance. The De Bijenkorf Store in the Hague by Piet Kramer from 1926 is considered to be the last example of "classic" Amsterdam School Expressionism.