Herman Hertzberger lectures on projects spanning from the early 1970s through 2000. He described the main focus of his work as communal and social space. Hertzberger works to achieve these through multiplying of sight lines in order to see as many people as possible, through the creation of more stairs than necessary for circulation in order to create informal gathering spaces, and by never closing space off in corridors.
Video Archive | Herman Hertzberger (4)
Herman Hertzberger comments on the difficulty of presenting new work every time he speaks at SCI-Arc because of the fact that his work progresses very slowly. Discussing the interior of his music center in Utrecht he stresses the importance of not filling the entire hall with seats, in order to leave space for people to dance during concerts and to stand. He discusses his own strategies for high density housing, arguing that Le Corbusier’s work is misunderstood. His most recently completed project is for an addition to an existing museum in Berlin, for which he proposes a landscape of long, linear all?es.
The last twenty minutes of Herman Hertzberger’s lecture. He shows a balustrade he designed to clearly display all of its components and how they fit together. He discusses his design for column bases in the same project, which provide seating in a way he compares to Bernini’s column bases in St. Peter’s Square. He disapproves of architects who try to enforce specific ways of living and communicating on people, arguing that it is important to appreciate the consequences of ones decisions, such as placing large facades too close together. He stresses the importance of scale in the pursuit of a balance between the freedom that space provides and the protection of boundaries.
Herman Hertzberger explains his approach of deploying ordinary rather than extraordinary elements as a device for giving the user responsibility to finish the design. He speaks of the importance of accommodating the user instead of impressing them with a specific purpose determined by the architect. To this end, he gives examples of his open-ended projects including a Montessori school and a development of two experimental houses, both in Delft. Hertzberger goes on to present a home for the elderly in Amsterdam as an example of organizing building elements with specific knowledge of the psychological associations that the users will project on the results. He also shows how the placement and articulation of columns in his Utrecht Concert Hall project refer to Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino House concept and Chomsky’s writings on structuralism. The video ends abruptly before the end of the lecture.