Het Schip

Zaanstraat, Oostzaanstraat, Hembrugstraat
Michel de Klerk
Woningbouwvereniging Eigen Haard
Bus 22
Maristella Casciato, The Amsterdam School, p.166-170, Rotterdam 1996. In dit gebouw is momenteel Museum Het Schip gehuisvest. Zie www.hetschip.nl.

Housing block with school and post office

Of the three ‘workers’ palaces’ near Spaardammerplantsoen, the third in particular, built for a socialist housing association, marked the breakthrough of the Amsterdam School. The 32,000m2 complex has a triangular floor plan and an elongated form, which is why it is called ‘Het Schip’ (The Ship). It contains 102 dwellings and eighteen different dwelling types. Most of the dwellings are three-room flats.

In addition to dwellings, Het Schip also contains a meeting space for residents, a school and a post office. De Klerk also designed the interior of the post office, with counters, seats and a telephone box. De Klerk’s expressionistic style is clearly visible in Het Schip. The elevations are a masterpiece of virtuoso brickwork, in which windows and porches in all shapes and sizes have been combined with sculptures and lettering to form a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ (a total work of art). Of the two long elevations, that on Oostzaanstraat is the most unobtrusive, that on Zaanstraat – directly on the railway line – has a pronounced horizontality.

On the short side, in Hembrugstraat, a tower marks a small square; this ensemble has not only become a symbol of the Amsterdam School, but also the target of later criticism of the movement. The criticism was mainly directed at the a-functionality of the decorations – in this case the tower. (ARCAM/JV)