Amsterdam Orphanage
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Architect Aldo van Eyck
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Location Amsterdam, The Netherlands   map
Date 1960 to 1961   timeline
Building Type dormitory
 Construction System brick and concrete
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Modern
Notes low profile, free plan creating local courts. repeated modules with individual hipped roofs.


View from north

Viewing northwest

Detail hall ceiling


Plan Drawing

Discussion Amsterdam Orphanage Commentary

"A cult building in the 1960s, Van Eyck's orphanage brought to the surface an idiosyncratic interpretation of modern architectural ideas enriched by pattern and forms and by balancing repetitive pavilions. Constructed in reinforced concrete panels and glass bricks, it has undoubtedly worn badly. It now houses the Berlage Institute."

— Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p240.

"Van Eyck's reputation as an original designer was enhanced by the low-profile brick-built orphanage on a site in the Amsterdam suburbs. It has had an influence on school buildings throughout the world."

— John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. p235.

"The most important personality in Holland is Aldo van Eyck...whose orphanage in Amsterdam (1958-1960) became known all over the world, due to the exemplary concept of this building. A home for 125 children of all ages was created here, articulating a revolutionary synthesis in the consideration of the individual and the group, inner and outer space, extended and small areas...Aldo van Eyck re-adopted a previously formulated concept of L. B. Alberti, when realizing the house for children in Amsterdam...the analogy of city and house: a small world within a large one, a large world within a small one, a house as a city, a city as a house, a home for children—to create that was my goal."

— from Udo Kultermann. Architecture in the 20th Century. p138.

The Creator's Words

"The building was conceived as a configuration of intermediary places clearly defined. This does not imply continual transition or endless postponement with respect to place and occasion. On the contrary, it implies a break away from the contemporary concept (call it sickness) of spatial continuity and the tendency to erase every articulation between spaces, i.e., between outside and inside, between one space and another. Instead, I tried to articulate the transition by means of defined in-between places which induce simultaneous awareness of what is signified on either side."

— Aldo van Eyck. from Udo Kultermann. Architecture in the 20th Century. p138.

Sources on Amsterdam Orphanage

Herman Hertzberger. Aldo Van Eyck: Hubertus House. Amsterdam: Stichting Wonen, 1982. NA1153.E95H47 1982. plan, p11.

Johnson Architectural Images. Copyrighted slides in the Artifice Collection.

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1975. ISBN 0-394-49887-9. NA200.G76. exterior photo, p235. — An inspiring and informative overview of world architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at

Maarten Kloos, ed. Amsterdam, An Architectural Lesson. Amsterdam: Thoth Publishing House, 1988. ISBN 90-6868-014-5. NA1148.A47 1988. exterior photo from grass, f28 p92.

Udo Kultermann. Architecture in the 20th Century. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993. ISBN 0-442-00942-9. LC 92-26734. NA680.K7913 1993. interior photo of interior, f149, p138. discussion, p137-138.

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. ISBN 0-8160-2438-3. NA680.S517. aerial photo, fH, p9. p240-242. — Available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Amsterdam Orphanage


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