Huize Lydia

Roelof Hartplein
J. Boterenbrood
Tram 3, 5, 12, 24
Joseph Buch, Een Eeuw Nederlandse Architectuur 1880-1990, p.111-112, Rotterdam 1994

Former roman-catholic home for women and girls, now community centre

This former Roman Catholic home for women and girls has had a variety of functions in the past century; for example, it once provided accommodation for student nurses. Today it is primarily a local community centre. The building by the second generation Amsterdam School architect J. Boterenbrood received a mixed reception on completion. Some critics praised its imaginative design, while others saw disparate elements. Boterenbrood sought to weld different volumes into a coherent whole and according to some, he only partially succeeded.

A number of the elements employed are derived directly from the pioneer of the Amsterdam School, Michel de Klerk. In particular the parabolic window and the roof-turret clad with lead are unmistakably derived from buildings by De Klerk in the Rivierenbuurt and the Spaardammerbuurt areas of the city.

The virtual absence of ornament, and the resultant weakening of the expressionism which so characterized the work of earlier architects of the Amsterdam School, illustrates the generation gap between Boterenbrood and his predecessors. Together with the other blocks in the square, by the architect J.F. Staal, among others, Huize Lydia shows a transition between the Amsterdam School and a more orthogonal architecture. (ARCAM/JV)