Short story of the Burgerweeshuis (Horphanage) - Amsterdam.
“A home for children, a place where they can live rather than survive.” – Aldo van Eyck
Officially completed in 1960, this orphanage provided a home for approximately 125 children. The original plan attempted to host a built framework – a stage – for the co-mingling of the individual and the collective without resorting to arbitrary accentuation of either one at the expense of the other. All departments, service spaces, and rooms for special activities open onto a large interior street, inviting the children to mix and move as they wish, from one area to another.
Hundreds of variously sized cupolas express van Eyck’s ideas about relationships between the part and the whole, small and larger worlds, and unity and diversity. The domes were a direct reference to the architecture of the Dogon people of Mali, which had a profound impact on van Eyck. The Dogon consider their complete habitat to be a reflection of nature; the basket, the house, the village, and the universe are all organized by the same principals […].
“If society today is not able or willing to build cities for citizens (children) on what ground do we deem it a society?” — Aldo van Eyck
Until 1986, Amsterdam Municipal Orphanage housed children without parents. Meanwhile, views on orphanages and child upbringing had changed and the orphanage became increasingly outdated. By 1986, plans were devised to partly demolish the building. Public protests prevented this from happening and instead the city decided to renovate the building. [The horphanage] retained its original function for a short while. From 1990 to 2000, however, it served as the initial home of the postgraduate architecture school, the ‘Berlage Instituut’. Since then, it has stood empty, isolated from nearby large-scale urban developments.
Several owners have tried to bring it back to life and restore some of its original qualities. In 2014, the orphanage building was designated a national monument, further protecting the site from modification or redevelopment, but also at the same time preventing the building from regaining its original social function. Today, the building looks almost dismantled, only very partially used.
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