eindhoven school

a crucial, yet forgotten, moment in Dutch architecture history...



a forgotten avant-garde

In December 1988, the exhibition The Eindhoven School: The Modern Past was opened at deSingel in Antwerp. This exhibition presented the work of twenty-three TU/e architecture graduates and attempted to signal the emergence of a new type of architecture in Eindhoven. Rather than being presented on the basis of a similarity of forms or a specific architectural style, the so-called Eindhoven School was instead described as a constellation of diverse attitudes which ranged from Han Westerlaken's high-tech to the refinement of Jo Coenen and the intellectualism of Wiel Arets and Wim van den Bergh, but also included the work of John Körmeling, Sjoerd Soeters, René van Zuuk, Martien Jansen, Gert Jan Willemse, Johan Kappetein, Jos van Eldonk, and Bert Dirrix.


The plurality of the work presented the unique architectural and educational ethos of TU Eindhoven’s Faculty of Architecture throughout the 1980s, where a common embrace of architecture history and theory could be clearly identified. Most notably, unlike then customary in Dutch architecture, in Eindhoven there was very little concern over functionalist and modernist dogmatic puritanism since there the “modern” implied instead a critical reaction to the past in which architecture could not be reduced to a meaningless fixity in time. For these TU/e graduates, architecture was more than the pragmatics of function or the aesthetics of form. Architecture was poetry, animated by varying layers of meaning that could purposefully engage with the human condition.


While it could be easy to dismiss the Eindhoven School as a simple aberrant moment for an otherwise unstoppable march of Dutch modernism towards its renowned SuperDutch expression, a closer look reveals how its exhibition in deSingel may have been the most significant, yet overlooked, moment in Dutch architecture history. Specifically, while the historiography of Dutch architecture has (correctly) identified Rem Koolhaas’ Delft symposium How Modern is Dutch Architecture? (1990) and the Dutch entry to the 5th Venice Biennale Modernism Without Dogma (1991) as significant moments in questioning modern architecture’s position within Dutch practice and, inevitably, for the emergence of a SuperDutch generation of architects, it has failed to recognize how these events were directly responding to the questions posed by the Eindhoven School exhibition (1988), particularly the need to break down dogmas of both modernity and history in Dutch architecture.


Ultimately, with its approach to history and modernity, the radical architecture brewing in Eindhoven not only developed a now long forgotten avant-garde position within Dutch architecture culture, but also shared the intellectual ambitions of the period’s leading international debates. Effectively, throughout those years, Eindhoven became a gateway to international architectural discourse—clearly of a postmodern flavor—slowly but surely breaking down Dutch architecture’s self-imposed exile.






TU Eindhoven

Het Nieuwe Instituut


TU Delft

Charles Vandenhove Pavilion



Sergio M. Figueiredo

Justin Agyin

Lennart Arpots

Matteo Basso

Kapilan Chandranesan

Daan Jenniskens

Dario Sposini



Creative Industries Fund NL

TU Eindhoven

University of Ghent

Het Nieuwe Instituut




TU Eindhoven


December 20, 2017 - February 9, 2018




February 19, 2018 - March 23, 2018


TU Delft


March 27, 2018 - April 19, 2018


Charles Vandenhove Pavilion


April 26, 2018 - June 2, 2018



What About the Eindhoven School?

Panel discussion with Ady Steketee and Jos van Eldonk


O.M.A.: Rem Koolhaas (Bekaert and Cornelis)

film screening followed by curator tour


Eindhoven SChool, a foundation of reflection

lecture by tamira tummers


The (De)Construction of the Eindhoven School

lecture by Chris van Langen and Jos van eldonk


Whatever Happened to History and Theory in Dutch Architecture?

symposium with Keynote lecture by Bart Lootsma


O.M.A.: Rem Koolhaas (Bekaert and Cornelis)

film screening followed by curator tour


About Joost Meuwissen / Geert Bekaert's Legacy

lectures by Maarten Janszen and Christophe van Gerrewey


History and Theory in Dutch Architecture Education Today

panel discussion with Bernard Colenbrander and Herman van Bergeijk


Once upon a time in Eindhoven

LEctures by Madeleine Steigenga and Arie van Rangelrooy