AD Classics: Kubuswoningen / Piet Blom

© Dirk Verwoerd

A popular tourist attraction and bizarre architectural experiment, the Kubuswoningen is located in the Oude Haven, the most historic section of Rotterdam’s port. Following the destruction of the Oude Haven during the Second World War, architect Piet Blom was asked to redevelop the area with architecture of character, presenting him the opportunity to apply his earlier cube housing exploration in Helmond to a more urban context.  Known for his desire to challenge conventions, Blom did not want the Kubuswoningen to resemble typical housing; he strived to dissolve the attitude that “a building has to be recognizable as a house for it to qualify as housing.”  During a time when the rebuilding of Rotterdam was pivotal, the Kubuswoningen served as an influential precedent for progressive and innovative architectural development.  

The People’s Architect: Dutch Residents Pay Tribute by Crowdfunding Future Piet Blom Museum

© Flickr user Michela Simoncini

“Architecture is more than creating a place to live,” stated the late Dutch architect, Piet Blom, “you create a society.” Till his death in 1999, Blom designed homes and urban schemes as if to reject the stern, coldness of post-war Modernism in light of a warmer, more human architecture. His drawings, diagrams and homes portray an affectionate commitment to reconcile elements of culture with the architecture around us. Characterized by his use of lively colors and equally expressive architectural geometries, project’s such as the “Kasbah” and the cube houses in Rotterdam stand as testaments to his belief that architecture serves the people, not the other way around.

A true “People’s Architect,” Blom’s work has endeared a growing number supporters, among these are residents who have lived in his houses and are hoping to garner donations to share these artifacts with the public. Ingeborg van der Aa, secretary of the Piet Blom Foundation, mentions that the initiative’s mission is to promote recognition, new insight and appreciation with the hopes of encouraging a younger generation to be active creators of their society.

To learn more or contribute towards the Piet Blom Museum, visit there Indiegogo page here

Follow us after the break for a rare collection of Blom’s drawings. 

Helmond Theater Destroyed by Fire

Last Thursday, the iconic Theater ‘t Speelhuis designed by Dutch architect was destroyed by a large fire, additionally damaging the eighteen cube houses surrounding it. The theater is considered a treasure to the residents of . Despite the local outcry to rebuild the Theater’s Playhouse, Mayor Jacobs is uncertain on whether that will happen, stating it would be “difficult”.

The eighteen cube houses that surround the fire has experience smoke and water damage, so they do not need to be demolished. However, thirteen of the fifty households within the vicinity of the theater have no insurance and it is unsure if they will be reimbursed for the damage.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, however sources speculate it was a shortage in equipment. There were no reports of anyone hurt, however valuable paintings of artist Har Sanders was also destroyed in the fire.

Reference: NOS