Housing J.M. Coenenstraat

J.M. Coenenstraat/ Barth.Ruloffstraat/ Bronckhorststraat
J.F. Staal
Woningbouwvereniging 'De Samenwerking'
Tram 3, 5, 24, 12
Joseph Buch, Een Eeuw Nederlandse Architectuur 1880-1990, Rotterdam 1994, p.107-117; M.W. Stenchlak, Architectuurgids van Nederland, Rijswijk 1989, p.189-191.

Housing block in Berlage’s Plan Zuid

Although Staal is mainly associated with the architectural movement the Amsterdam School, he occupies a position all of his own in Dutch architectural history. In his principal works he succeeded in finding a balance between a rational and a more fanciful mode of thinking. The block that Staal realized on J.M. Coenenstraat in 1923 is in keeping with the Amsterdam School, but at the same time it shows a transition to a more orthogonal style.

Staal was clearly inspired by De Klerk and Kramer, the two leading exponents of the Amsterdam School, whereas the facade on J.M. Coenenstraat shows a tauter and more personal style, which Staal developed further in his later buildings. The long, flat brick facade is provided with rows of identical windows. The built-in stairs in the entrances are daylighted via columnar oriel windows, which are divided into square panes by means of a grid of blue steel window mullions.

Staal increasingly sought to give a functional architecture a visually attractive form. The best example of this is his later work ‘De Wolkenkrabber’ (The Skyscraper’), built in 1930. With this and other designs Staal succeeded in incorporating current trends in architecture in his buildings, while at the same time holding on to older ideas. (ARCAM/JV)