Cuypers: Architecture with a Mission

18 October 2007

Lecture about Cuypers as an inspired architect with a mission. "He believed in a community ideal, in an architecture that could change society, in the 'Gesamtkunstwerk' and in Gothic Revival as the only legitimate architecture style."

Speaker: Linda Vlassenrood

Pierre Cuypers is famous for his designs of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Central Station, a number of churches and the restoration of Kasteel de Haar. He is notorious for his position in the debate on the meaning of architecture in relation to religion and community. A debate that is still very topical, due to the recent attention for the emancipation of the Islam in our built environment. Cuypers was a passionate and enthusiastic architect with a mission: he believed in an ideal society, in an architecture that could change society, in the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ and in the Neo-Gothic as the only legitimate architectural style. 

In his aversion of the industrial revolution, with its standardization and disintegration, the Roman Catholic Cuypers took the Middle Ages as an example of a society with clear ranks and classes, with the Catholic Church as its center and the craft guilds with their artisan qualities.

Linda Vlassenrood is a historian of architecture and, since 2000, curator at the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi). Amongst others, she has curated the exhibitions ‘Reality Machines’ and ‘START’ (The Rem Koolhaas/OMA Collection) at the NAi. She also worked on the exhibition ‘Tangible Traces. Dutch Architecture and Design in the making’ for the 2007 Biennale in Sao Paula. As curator of the Cuypers exhibition, she gives an introduction to the exhibitions that are presented in Rotterdam and Maastricht.