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Social Spaces

November 4, 2010

Herzberger designed building with green facade Herman Hertzberger is one of the most important figures of Dutch Structuralism and the design of contemporary educational environments. As a structuralist, Hertzberger believes that architecture should provide the spatial framework for the users whose needs should shape the building’s design. The first of this year’s 2010 Farajollah & Maryam Badie Arfaa Lecture Series, Hertzberger will present Social Space on Thursday, November 4th at 6 PM at Mitchell Auditorium in the Bossone Research Center. 

Dutch Structuralism is an architectural movement that was at its height from the 1960s to the 1990s and was a reaction against Functionalism, a movement seen as resulting in large and uniform buildings. Proponents of Dutch Structuralism employ a number of mostly the same smaller elements. The buildings’ structures often resemble villages or towns and the projects can be enlarged by adding more of the same elements which are frequently in the shape of cubes. Hertzberger has skillfully applied his theories to a range of different building types, including schools, housing and offices. His designs include the Centraal Beheer Headquarters office building in Apeldoorn, the Music Centre Vredenburg in Utrecht, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment office in Den Haag and the Delft Montessori School. These and many other buildings have received international recognition and are now considered important architectural landmarks. Hertzberger believes that design can enrich the user experience by providing a variety of stimulating spatial experiences that promote social interaction. This is the topic Hertzberger will focus on in his lecture at Drexel.

As a passionate educator, Hertzberger taught at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam from 1965 – 1970, the Delft University of Technology from 1970-1999 and served as visiting professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland from 1986-1993. He was a founding father and the first Dean of the prestigious Berlage Institute in Amsterdam from 1990-1995, a post-academic laboratory for design-based research in architecture, urbanism, and other fields related to the built environment. He has written several books, including Space and the ArchitectShelter for CultureLessons for Students in Architecture and Space and Learning. His latest publication “The Schools of Herman Hertzberger” show the depth of his oeuvre in this field and that his understanding of learning environments is relevant today.

As a Rankin Scholar-in-Residence, Hertzberger will also visit studio architecture classes and take part in one of three weekend workshops as part of Re-Create: Three Workshops on Learning Environments and the Participatory Process, an interdisciplinary course for Interior Design and Architecture students.

Event Details:
What: Social Space, a lecture by Herman Hertzberger
When: Thursday, November 4; 6 PM
Where: Mitchell Auditorium, Bossone Research Center
Cost: Free and open to the public, for more information visit