De StijlBIBLIOTECADocumentos

Robert Van’t Hoff, Villa Henny


La villa Henny diseñada por el arquitecto Robert Van’t Hoff en 1916, es una de las primeras obras consideradas modernas y según palabras de su autor, “La primera elaboración autónoma del mismo concepto arquitectónico de Wright en los Países Bajos”.(1)

Van’t Hoff nació en Rotterdam, Países Bajos en 1887. En 1904 se mudó a Bilthoven y posteriormente a Inglaterra donde estudió arquitectura en la Escuela de Arte de Birmingan. En 1914, después de conocer el trabajo de Frank Lloyd Wright a través de una publicación, viaja a Estados Unidos para ver sus obras. Durante su estadía, visita los jardines Midway, Taliesin, el edificio Larkin y las casa de Oak Park. De regreso a Europa, diseña la Villa Verloop y posteriormente la Villa Henny, obras en las que manifiesta la notable influencia que ejerció en su arquitectura la obra de Wright.

La villa Henny es una casa experimental en su concepción y materialización. Realizada completamente en Hormigón Armado, el diseño de la villa tiene un perfil moderno respecto de las obras realizadas en Holanda en esos años. La casa esta conformada por un volumen cúbico compuesto por un enorme techo plano, con losas en voladizo y  planos de muros en retroceso.

Los vanos y carpinterías repiten el diseño de paños verticales que Wright utiliza en la Casa Robie, al igual que el tratamiento de los revestimientos sobre los muros interiores. La planta de la casa mantiene el sentido de geometría de las prairie houses de Wright. Este trabajo colocó a Van’t Hoff como una figura relevante del incipiente movimiento moderno Europeo y el reconocimiento de los artistas de la época.

de stijl, Van't Hoff tecnne

En 1917 Van’t Hoff conoció a Theo Van Doesburg, con quien entabló una fluida correspondencia, a partir de las coincidencias en sus ideas sobre el arte de vanguardia. Ese mismo año también entabló relación con otros dos miembros del futuro grupo De Stijl, Vilmos Huzar y J.J.P. Oud.

Van’t Hoff fue un activo miembro de la revista De Stijl. En los primeros dos años escribió artículos sobre el futuro de la arquitectura y análisis sobre edificios de Jan Wils y Antonio Sant’Elia. Cuando van Doesburg separó al editor original de la revista, Van’t Hoff apoyo financieramente la continuidad de la publicación.

En 1918 diseño una casa flotante que llamó De Stijl, donde vivió junto a su esposa intermitentemente los siguientes 4 años. Su posición ideológica se volcó radicalmente al comunismo,  participando activamente de un programa de intercambio con los artistas de la Unión Soviética, pero finalmente su desilusión con la vanguardia artística lo llevo a vender su casa y trasladarse a Londres en 1922 para promover el comunismo en Inglaterra sin ningún éxito.

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De todas formas, mantuvo comunicación con algunos miembros de De Stijl, principalmente con Oud y Mondrian. En el décimo aniversario de la revista De Stijl, publicó una carta abierta firmada “Robert  Van’t Hoff, ex arquitecto” y basó su actividad principal en el diseño de muebles, trasladándose a Davos en 1931 y luego a Hampshire en Inglaterra en 1937, donde se instalo definitivamente.

El bombardeo de Conventry en 1940, ciudad que conocía de sus tiempo de estudiante, albergó la esperanza en Van’t Hoff de poder hacer valer sus ideales progresistas en la reconstrucción de la ciudad, pero progresivamente fue alejándose de la actividad y termino recluido en su vivenda.

Su ultimo trabajo fue en 1960, el diseño del interior de su estudio en New Milton, Hampshire, ciudad en la que falleció en 1979. Cuando en el año 2006 la casa fue demolida, la hija de Van’t Hoff donó los elementos del interior del estudio al Museo Kroller-Muller, donde se encuentran como parte de la colección permanente del Museo.

Marcelo Gardinetti, noviembre de 2012©

de stijl, Van't Hoff tecnne

The Henny villa designed by the architect Robert Van’t Hoff in 1916, is one of the first works considered modern and in the words of its author, “The first autonomous elaboration of the same architectural concept of Wright in the Netherlands”. Van’t Hoff was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1887. In 1904 he moved to Bilthoven and later to England where he studied architecture at the Birmingham School of Art. In 1914, after learning about Frank Lloyd Wright’s work through a publication, he travelled to the United States to see his works. During his stay, he visits the Midway Gardens, Taliesin, the Larkin building and the Oak Park houses. Back in Europe, he designs the Villa Verloop and later the Villa Henny, works in which he shows the remarkable influence that Wright’s work had on his architecture. The Villa Henny is an experimental house in its conception and materialization. Completely made of reinforced concrete, the design of the villa has a modern profile compared to the works carried out in Holland during those years. The house is made up of a cubic volume made up of a huge flat roof, with cantilevered slabs and receding wall planes. The openings and carpentry repeat the vertical panel design that Wright used in the Robie House, as well as the treatment of the coatings on the interior walls. The floor plan of the house maintains the sense of geometry of Wright’s prairie houses. This work placed Van’t Hoff as a relevant figure of the emerging European modern movement and the recognition of the artists of the time.

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In 1917 Van’t Hoff met Theo Van Doesburg, with whom he established a fluid correspondence, based on the coincidences in his ideas about avant-garde art. That same year he also established a relationship with two other members of the future De Stijl group, Vilmos Huzar and J.J.P. Oud. Van’t Hoff was an active member of De Stijl magazine. In the first two years he wrote articles on the future of architecture and analysis of buildings by Jan Wils and Antonio Sant’Elia. When van Doesburg separated the original editor of the magazine, Van’t Hoff supported financially the continuation of the publication. In 1918 he designed a houseboat which he called De Stijl, where he lived with his wife intermittently for the next 4 years. His ideological position turned radically to communism, actively participating in an exchange program with artists from the Soviet Union, but finally his disillusionment with the artistic avant-garde led him to sell his house and move to London in 1922 to promote communism in England without any success. Anyway, he kept in touch with some members of De Stijl, mainly with Oud and Mondrian. On the tenth anniversary of De Stijl magazine, he published an open letter signed “Robert Van’t Hoff, former architect” and based his main activity on furniture design, moving to Davos in 1931 and then to Hampshire in England in 1937, where he settled permanently. The bombing of Conventry in 1940, a city he knew from his student days, gave Van’t Hoff hope that he would be able to assert his progressive ideals in the reconstruction of the city, but he gradually moved away from the activity and ended up confined to his house. His last job was in 1960, designing the interior of his studio in New Milton, Hampshire, where he died in 1979. When the house was demolished in 2006, Van’t Hoff’s daughter donated the studio interior to the Kroller-Muller Museum, where it is now part of the Museum’s permanent collection.

Notas:

   (1) Robert van ‘Hoff. Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, 1967. – Catalogue of the exhibition of 1967.

Crédito de la imágenes: Portada: ©Michel Claus; Exteriores: ©Klaas Vermaas; Interiores: ©Artifice Inc, Greatbuilding

TECNNE | Arquitectura y contextos


 

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