Plantage Middenlaan 27-33
A.E. van Eyck
Tram 9-14
Francis Strauven, 'Plaats voor wederkerigheid', Wonen-TA/BK no. 8, 1980; Izak Salomons, 'Het "Moederhuis": licht en ruimte', Forum no. 3, 1980-81; Jord den Hollander, '"Moederhuis" Amsterdam kleurige toverbal als architectuurmanifest', de Architect, no. 4, 1979.

Shelter for mothers and children

In 1973, together with Theo Bosch, Aldo van Eyck designed the ‘Mothers’ House’ for the Hubertus Society, which has its origins in late nineteenth-century charitable institutions. The Mothers’ House stands on the site of a former refuge for ‘fallen women’.

The existing building was designed as a home for mothers in difficulty. Together with their children, they could find temporary accommodation here and if so desired make use of the professional help available. The building is still in use by a charitable institution.

Van Eyck based his design on the idea that architecture must make human activities possible and should encourage social interaction. This idea was a reaction to post-war functionalism, which in practice often resulted in sterile, cheerless buildings. The design not only comprised the infilling of a gap in the nineteenth-century street facade of Plantage Middenlaan, but also the renovation of two existing adjacent historic buildings. The infill conforms to the existing facade wall as regards building height, vertical layout and understructure, but is distinguished primarily by the striking use of colour. According to Van Eyck, he chose one colour for the facade, namely ‘the rainbow colour’.

The interior is characterized by bright colours and by the lucid organization of the floor plan. In addition to circular, octagonal and rectangular forms, abundant use has been made of spatial elements such as terraces, stairs and passages, which give rise to a relaxed, spacious atmosphere. (ARCAM/YK)