Essential Architecture-  Amsterdam

Hubertus House


Aldo van Eyck


Amsterdam, Holland




post modern




Apartment Building
International Precursors - Aldo van Eyck

Hubertus House, at Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1973 to 1978.

Hubertus House


"Van Eyck's work lies in line with that important tradition of humanitarian modernism central to 20th century Dutch architecture. The 6-storey Hubertus House cannot be viewed in isolation, although its social success is clearly a result of the way its particular design was carried out. It is concerned with the spirit and the establishment of a comfortable scale for the building of this type and size-an open 'home' for single parents and their children-with the creation of a non-stressful environment, in a block that seems to say 'house'. Like so many of Van Eyck's schemes, it was a cooperative effort with contributions from Hannie van Eyck and Theo Bosch in particular."

-Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p363.

Sources on Hubertus House

William Kleinsasser. Synthesis 9. Eugene, OR: self published, 1990. p91, f59-68 (spatial variety given by defining elements)

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. ISBN 0-8160-2438-3. NA 680.S517. exterior photos, p362. p363.


Plantage Middenlaan 33-35
Year of construction: 1980

Hubertus House is wedged between 19th-century buildings on Plantage Middenlaan. The building's size and dimensions fit in well with the other buildings, however, it stands out because of its bright rainbow colors. The Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck designed the Hubertus House.

Mother House
Hubertus House, nicknamed the 'Mother House', was established in the 19th century to support 'fallen women'. From the 1970s the house has offered shelter and protection to single parents and children. The staircase is a central feature of Hubertus House and clearly visible from the street. The supporting construction is a concrete construction of columns and floors. The non-retaining interior walls are made of glass. The staircases, terraces and passages make this a fascinating and intimate building. Intimacy is important in this house because of the circumstances of its occupants.


1 - Hubertus House - Amsterdam - By Aldo Van Eyck - 1973-81
Home for single parents and their children
This building is about connection and separation. One of the most striking features is the relationship between the building and the street. To enter, you pass through an exterior space located above the sidewalk level and behind the main facade. This space creates a buffer zone between the interior and the exterior, naturally filtering who will enter and indicating that you are entering a share but peaceful space. Throughout the building, spaces are organized so that everyone feels the space is their own. At the same time, its layout indicates limits without the presence of strict boundaries. The loggia on the main façade also creates a sense of connection with the street while maintaining a physical separation.
The program layout also follows a logic of connection and separation with the street. The parents rooms and offices face the street while the children’s living spaces (including sleeping) are located farther inside. This arrangement shelters the children from the activities of the street (and the city) while the adults have a closer relationship with it.

The transparency of the building, especially in the main circulation shaft, visually connects the inhabitant with the other parts of the building. Those views allows the inhabitant to understand the building as a single entity. At the same time, the transparency allows glimpses of the street even from the exterior courtyard, thus maintaining that sense of connection with the city beyond.
Aldo van Eyck (16 March 1918 - 14 January 1999) was born in Driebergen, the Netherlands. Although educated in England during his youth, he eventually returned to Zurich and attended the ETH. He taught at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture from 1954 to 1959, and he was a professor at the Delft Technical College from 1966 to 1984. He also was editor of the architecture magazine Forum from 1959 to 1963 and in 1967.

An member of CIAM and then in 1954 a co-founder of "Team 10", Van Eyck lectured throughout Europe and northern America propounding the need to reject Functionalism and attacking the lack of originality in most post-war Modernism. Van Eyck's position as co-editor of the Dutch magazine Forum helped publicise the "Team 10" call for a return to humanism within architectural design.

Van Eyck received the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1990.