During our recent trip to Amsterdam we were staying on the edge of the area known as Oud Zuid (the Old South) on Stadionplein, directly across from the Olympic Stadium. The area was developed at the beginning of the 20th Century. Travelling on the tram to and from the city centre I’d noticed that many of the buildings had features that suggested that they’d been designed by architects from the Amsterdam School, so I decided to go for a bit of a mooch and look into this further.
The area was developed under the Plan Zuid, which was designed by the architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage and many of the architects were from the Amsterdam School.
Although the Amsterdam School movement is considered to be part of international Expressionist architecture, there are features reminiscent of both Art Nouveau and Art Deco in their buildings. As with most architectural movements, each building has it’s own features, but there are some common characteristics.
- The architects’ emphasis was on the outward appearance of a building and less on its functionality – “Form before function”
- the buildings are mainly constructed from bricks – often different shapes, textures and and colours of brick are used.
- The windows are often eye-catching shapes,
- There is great attention to detail and ornamentation, including sculptures, wrought iron decorations and stained-glass windows.
- The facades often have curves and bulges, concave and convex shapes
- The corner buildings or buildings at the end of a complex, often emphasized by a tower-like element.
- The entrances and staircases are often highlighted by a special shape or decorations in stone or wrought iron.
I spent a good couple of hours wandering around the streets snapping photos, even though it was rather grey and cold with some rain showers. Here’s a few of the pictures I took.
Windows and doors tend to be particularly ornate
Although most of the buildings were residential blocks, I did spot a few individual houses with characteristic Amsterdam School features