1990 - Aldo van Eyck 1918 - 99

Hubertus House, Amsterdam

Designer: Van Eyck, Aldo (1918-1999)
Copyright: RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1981)

Although not prolific, Aldo van Eyck designed some seminal buildings, most notably Amsterdam's Municipal Orphanage (1955-60) and the Hubertus House for single mothers (1973-1978), also in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam Orphanage spawned a whole school of Dutch architecture, Structuralism, although he never saw himself as a Structuralist. He is equally well known for his churches and his inventive houses, the best of which are probably the Catholic Church for Pastor van Ars in the Hague (1963-1969), and the PREVI housing in Lima, Peru (1969-1972).


He played an active role in CIAM, overseeing, along with Jaap Bakema, Georges Candilis and Alison and Peter Smithson, its development into Team 10. He was a mentor and teacher, polemicist and theorist whose impact was felt beyond the boundaries of the Netherlands. Architects whose design approach owes much to him include Herman Hertzberger, his son-in-law Julyan Wickham and Robert Venturi.


The official citation reads: ‘His outlook, though rooted in the classic and archaic tradition, derives its strengths from the work of the European avant-garde of this century and from his interest in anthropology.

Aldo van Eyck with a model of the Hubertus House, Amsterdam

Copyright: RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1870s)


He accepts the contradictions of this world and has transformed them into an architectural language that is inventive, inimitable and thought provoking. Van Eyck's influence is out of proportion to the number of his competed buildings. Today, at the age of 71, he, together with his wife and partner Hannie, is not only professionally active but continuing to astonish and inspire.' 


'In a world where man is reduced to a statistic and space to a unit of rental, where a sense of place is rare and architecture restructed to superficial packaging, van Eyck remains an inspiration to us all.'