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Wendingen, 1921
Design for the Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten (the Dutch national visual arts academy) on the former August Allebéplein (now part of Apollolaan) in the district of Amsterdam-South (1918-1921), winning competition entry, theme VI (never built). Bernard Bijvoet and Johannes Duiker. This draft model was made of clay.

 

 

Wendingen, 1921
Design for the Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten on the former August Allebéplein (now part of Apollolaan) in the district of Amsterdam-South, winning competition entry, theme VI.
Bernard Bijvoet and Johannes Duiker. 1918-1921. Clay model, rear façade as seen from Jan van Goyenkade.

 

Wendingen, 1921
Design for the Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten on the former August Allebéplein (now part of Apollolaan) in the district of Amsterdam-South, winning competition entry, theme VI. Bernard Bijvoet and Johannes Duiker, 1918-1921. View of the building structure and the glass ceiling in the sculpture hall.

 

Wendingen, 1921
Design for the Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten on the former August Allebéplein (now part of Apollolaan) in the district of Amsterdam-South, winning competition entry, theme VI. Bernard Bijvoet and Johannes Duiker, 1918-1921. Auditorium.

 

private collection
Design for the Stadium Tower Block with rows of low-rise housing, Amsterdam-South (never built). Bernard Bijvoet, Eugène Beaudouin and Marcel Lods, circa 1935-1939. Model.

 

private collection
Design for the Stadium Tower Block with rows of low-rise housing, Amsterdam-South. Bernard Bijvoet, Eugène Beaudouin and Marcel Lods, circa 1935-1939. Presentation drawing. The skyscraper was to be situated on the Zuider Amstelkanaal. Pylons next to the road mark the former municipal boundary of Amsterdam.

 

private collection
Design for the Stadium Tower Block with rows of low-rise housing, Amsterdam-South. ‘View from Stadium Bridge.’ Bernard Bijvoet, Eugène Beaudouin and Marcel Lods, circa 1935-1939. This sketch was made by Bernard Bijvoet.

 

photo Ronald Zoetbrood
Design for the Stadium Tower Block with rows of low-rise housing, Amsterdam-South. Bernard Bijvoet, Eugène Beaudouin and Marcel Lods, circa 1935-1939. This presentation album was compiled in Paris. The work remained unknown in the Netherlands.

 

Bernard Bijvoet was a very modest, quiet man. Because of his cautious nature, he just allowed things to take their own course – or so it seemed. At a young age, Bijvoet was attracted to the artistic life of Paris. His interest extended not only to the Modern Movement in architecture, but also to modern French music and to painting and theatre. He also played piano. Amongst his favourite composers were Jolivet, Poulenc, Wiener, Doucet, Stravinsky and Debussy. At an old age, the architect was still playing piano works by Scriabin and Shostakovich. In the visual arts, he was fond of Impressionists like Picasso, Matisse and Yves Klein.

In the field of architecture, Bijvoet’s work represents a subtle interplay between the solid, Dutch tradition of Het Nieuwe Bouwen and a variety of French innovations and experiments. The works of this Francophile Dutch architect were highly valued in France. No less a personage than Charles Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier (1887-1965), once remarked: ‘Monsieur Byvoët, votre génie est très grand pour l’Europe’ (Mr Bijvoet, your genius is of great significance to Europe). On a personal level, Bijvoet most resembled the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto – taciturn, reticent about architecture, and difficult to approach.

The crux of the matter may well be that after Bijvoet’s postwar return to the Netherlands, people were largely blind to the French aspects of his work. Bijvoet himself made no real effort to explain them.

The primary emphasis in Bijvoet’s work lay at the artistic level. Or, as he himself expressed it in the 1960s, ‘In our times, architects are largely men of the trade – a very complicated trade to be sure, requiring extensive knowledge, versatile talent and exceptional aptitude. But one often forgets that they must above all be artists in their trade, just like true painters, sculptors or composers are also artists in their own trade.’

 

Birthplace of Bernard Bijvoet on Kromme Waal in Amsterdam, near the harbour in the River IJ.
photo Ronald Zoetbrood  

 

photo Ronald Zoetbrood
Blocks of flats on Aalbersestraat and Ruys de Beerenbrouckstraat in the Amsterdam district of Geuzenveld. Bernard Bijvoet, 1953-1959.

 

Blocks of flats on Aalbersestraat and Ruys de Beerenbrouckstraat in the Amsterdam district of Geuzenveld. Bernard Bijvoet, 1953-1959.
photo Ronald Zoetbrood  

 

Flats and shops on Huizingalaan, Slotervaart Shopping District, Amsterdam. Bernard Bijvoet, 1954-1957.
photo Ronald Zoetbrood  

 

photo Ronald Zoetbrood
Flats and shops on Huizingalaan, Slotervaart Shopping District, Amsterdam. Bernard Bijvoet, 1954-1957.

 

Flats and shops on Huizingalaan, Slotervaart Shopping District, Amsterdam. Bernard Bijvoet, 1954-1957. Rear façade.
photo Ronald Zoetbrood  

 

photo Ronald Zoetbrood
Blocks of flats and low-rise dwellings, repetitive design, on Robert Fruinlaan in the Amsterdam district of Slotervaart. Bernard Bijvoet, 1954-1957.

 

Tower blocks on Van Nijenrodeweg in the Amsterdam district of Buitenveldert. Bernard Bijvoet, 1957-1959, 1967.
photo Ronald Zoetbrood  

 

Tower blocks on Van Nijenrodeweg in the Amsterdam district of Buitenveldert. Bernard Bijvoet, 1957-1959, 1967. Detail.
photo Ronald Zoetbrood  

 

Design for an Opera House, later called Het Muziektheater (never built on this site), on Ferdinand Bolstraat, Amsterdam. Bernard Bijvoet and Gerard Holt, 1961-1976.
photo Ronald Zoetbrood  

 

photo Ronald Zoetbrood
Design for an Opera House, later called Het Muziektheater, on Ferdinand Bolstraat, Amsterdam. Bernard Bijvoet and Gerard Holt, 1961-1976. This is the copper model

 

collection of the architect
Design for an Opera House, later called Het Muziektheater, on Ferdinand Bolstraat, Amsterdam. Bernard Bijvoet and Gerard Holt, 1961-1976. Auditorium.

 

January 1977. The final design for the Amsterdam Opera, meanwhile renamed Muziektheater, is now complete. Bernard Bijvoet (1889-1979)
UNITED PHOTOS de BOER  

 

collection of the architect
Design for an Opera House, later called Het Muziektheater, on Ferdinand Bolstraat, Amsterdam. Bernard Bijvoet and Gerard Holt, 1961-1976. Interior, ‘loggia’ in the Salle des Pas Perdus (foyer), upstairs bar area.
Drawing by Bijvoet, pencil and pastel on paper.

 

Hotel Okura, Ferdinand Bolstraat, Amsterdam. Bernard Bijvoet and Gerard Holt; Yoshiro Taniguchi and Yozo Shibata (Tokyo). 1968-1972.
photo Ronald Zoetbrood  

 

Hotel Okura, Ferdinand Bolstraat, Amsterdam.
Bernard Bijvoet and Gerard Holt; Yoshiro Taniguchi and Yozo Shibata
1968-1972. Interiors: swimming pool.
photo Okura Hotel Archives  

 

Hotel Okura, Ferdinand Bolstraat, Amsterdam.
Bernard Bijvoet, Gerard Holt, Yoshiro Taniguchi and Yozo Shibata. Tokyo, Japan.
1968-1972. Side façade on Jozef Israëlskade and the Amstelkanaal.
photo Ronald Zoetbrood  

 

Royal Carré Theatre on the River Amstel, Amsterdam. The Blue Bar.
Bernard Bijvoet and George van Delft. 1977-1978.
private collection  

 

On 7 April 1979, the mayor of Amsterdam, Wim Polak, notified Bernard Bijvoet and Gerard Holt of a new proposal to combine the projected opera and ballet theatre (Het Muziektheater) with the proposed City Hall on Waterlooplein in the Amsterdam city centre. Their existing design for the Opera House adjacent to Hotel Okura on Ferdinand Bolstraat was to be scrapped. The architects were flabbergasted. They now realised how strong the political pressure was against building the music complex in a largely residential neighbourhood.

A preliminary sketch for the City Hall and Muziektheater, called a ‘vision from the Blue Bridge’, had already been submitted by the creator of the City Hall scheme, the Austrian architect Wilhelm Holzbauer. To Bijvoet, having Holzbauer design a theatre exceeded all imaginable bounds.

Bijvoet, still able-bodied and young in spirit, reacted furiously, saying, ‘An Austrian on Waterlooplein ... never!’ He brushed away Holzbauer’s proposal, pointing out that the design for the façade did not even fit the ground plan. Events followed one another in rapid succession. The Amsterdam architect Cees Dam became involved in the planning. In July, Dam submitted a sketch design combining the rectangular, L-shaped city hall with the ‘rounded’ form of the theatre. The structure that was to define the view on the River Amstel slowly took shape.

In September and October Bijvoet delivered his noteworthy contribution to the complex design. With seemingly unflagging energy he stood almost daily at his small drawing board. This is the period when the auditorium with its encircling staircases was created.

The design for the Amsterdam City Hall and Muziektheater was completed in late October. The plans were presented on 26 October at an exposition in the former Municipal Giro Office on the Singel. It was on this occasion that Bernard Bijvoet, now 89 years of age, appeared in public for the last time.

The next month, Bijvoet fell ill. On 24 November he signed over to Cees Dam the final authorisation to build the City Hall and Muziektheater.

Bernard Bijvoet died on 27 December 1979 in Haarlem at the age of 90.

 

photo Ronald Zoetbrood
City Hall and Muziektheater, on the River Amstel, Amsterdam. Collaborating architect firms were Holzbauer, Dam, and Bijvoetand Holt. Cees Dam and Wilhelm Holzbauer, 1979-1988. View from the Blue Bridge (Blauwbrug).

 

 

City Hall and Muziektheater, on the River Amstel, Amsterdam. Collaborating architect firms were Holzbauer, Dam, and Bijvoet and Holt. Cees Dam and Wilhelm Holzbauer, 1979-1988. Corner of City Hall.
photo Ronald Zoetbrood  

 

photo Ronald Zoetbrood
City Hall and Muziektheater, on the River Amstel, Amsterdam. Collaborating architect firms were Holzbauer, Dam, and Bijvoet and Holt. Cees Dam and Wilhelm Holzbauer, 1979-1988. Het Muziektheater.
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