{1 + 1 = Humans + Togetherness = Structuralism + Sustainability= Past + Future= HH}

The equation explains:

The Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger (HH) always followed a simple principle of  ‘One plus one’. It aimed either a space serving people while connecting them integrally or a space where structuralism and sustainability go hand in hand, or a space dynamically serving in the present and future even after a change is there in the building’s purpose.

The Dutch Architect- Herman Hertzberger_©Alchetron

Herman Hertzberger is a beautiful contribution to our society who thinks, lives, and expresses for the community. The unifier has received the prestigious RIBA Royal Gold Medal (2012) and many other accolades through his contribution to BBE: Buildings, Books, and Education.

Bringing community together_©AHH

90 years = 9 sentences | Herman Hertzberger

Who would’ve thought that a boy, waiting and getting bored daily for his father’s return from work, could connect to architecture unknowingly by noticing facades, detail of doorways, canopies, and bay windows on the streets of Zuid (Netherlands)? Later, the education at Eerste Montessori school and Montessori Lyceum- De Lairessestraat, the war years, the Le Corbusier’s book, Mansion de Verre (Paris), and his cultural roots made him reach one of the best architectural universities (Delft University of Technology). In 1958, the undergraduate, with the ambition of being a modern architect, opened his HH studio from home.

Childhood (extreme right) and  architecture_©AHH

Within the coming years, Herman Hertzberger collaborated with Marius Duintjer, his father of architecture–Aldo Van Eyck, FORUM, and Jaap Bakema. This experience was even reflected in his buildings leading to being a part of the Dutch Structuralist Movement from 1960 to the 1970s. The decade provided a range of works from the popular Matchbox schemes to A workshop for 1000 people.

Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet4
Aldo Van Eyck, Jaap Bakema, and other seniors_©AHH

“I think an architect’s role is to make a space for people to contact each other. Space is effect medium for interrelation, exchange, meeting with each other, speaking.”- HH. 

From days to days, years to years, and decades to decades, a comprehensive portfolio of housing, urban planning, cultural and educational buildings, offices, and interior design was made by HH. With this continuation, the 90-year-old man is still inspiring the community with his works, teachings, speeches, and mindset.

Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet5
Social interaction in a Workshop of 1000 people_©AHH

25+ Key projects = 6 lessons

The six lessons commonly seen in all buildings of Herman Hertzberger are:-

  1. Every building has social cohesion.
  2. A feeling of belongingness for the people.
  3. A space accommodating society and social exchange.
  4. Structuralism; a philosophical notion of competence and performance.
  5. The space/structure/environment for today and tomorrow.
  6. Buildings are like city streets, depicting a balance between freedom and control for the people.
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet6
Six lessons in one frame_©AHH

Some of his key projects are:-

  • De Drie Hoven, Amsterdam (1964-1974)– The cohesive form of a system of columns, beams, and floors, with a social substratum within the elderly housing.
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet7
De Drie Hoven from high vantage point_©AHH
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet8
It’s time to relax_©AHH
  • Montessori school, Delft (1966)– The school with spatial articulation through the L-shaped classrooms, diagonal central corridor, and autonomous units. “A safe nest”- A home environment with a concentration in each class has been achieved, through cloakrooms than rows of pegs, protected sandcastle zones, and sunken slabs for children having familiar surroundings.
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet9
Prayer Hall of Montessori school, Delft_©AHH
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet10
Let’s dive in!_©AHH
  • A Workshop for 1000 people, Apeldoorn (1968)- The sixty tower-like cubes articulated as a single unit feel like a street pattern of a medieval town. The office of no corridors and rabbit hutches has cafes, boudoirs, phonebooth, kitchen, library, compluvium, etc. At present, the building will serve as affordable housing, proving Herman Hertzberger’s statement: “Every building shall be designed in such a way that gets converted later at the stage of abandoning to a type of housing”.
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet11
A Workshop for 1000 people from high vantage point_©AHH
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet12
The openness and freedom inside the workshop_©AHH
  •  Vredenburg music centre, Utrecht (1973)-  When the Vredenburg’s entrances are all open, the centre temporarily becomes part of the street. The building seeks to be absorbed by the city because of being part of the market square and informally integrating each other. 
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet13
Vredenburg music centre, Utrecht_©AHH
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet14
The music, busy corridors, and people_©AHH

Diagoon experimental housing, Apollo schools, Burgerweeshuis orphanage(Amsterdam), YKK dormitory(Japan), CODA(Apeldoorn), Montessori schools, and colleges are some of the other projects. 

Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet15
Stronger together at The Mosaici school, Rome_©The Architectural Review

9 + 1 = Publications + Education | Herman Hertzberger


  1. ‘Homework for more hospitable forms’- FORUM XXIV(1973)Hans Van Heeswijk(1995) 
  2. Lessons for Students in Architecture (1996)
  3. Ruimte maken, ruimte laten: lessen in architectuur (1996)
  4. Space and the Architect: Lessons in Architecture 2 (1999)
  5. Articulations (2002)
  6. Space and the Learning: Lessons in Architecture 3 (2008)
  7. The Future of Architecture (2013)
  8. Architecture and Structuralism: The Ordering of Space (2015)
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet16
Lessons for Students in Architecture_©AHH
Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet17
Space and the Architect: Lessons in Architecture 2_©nailbooksellers.nl

Herman Hertzberger majorly disseminated about the interaction between form and users, experiencing and absorbing something that leads to references and shouldn’t be sublimated by architects and architectural frame of mind that enables students to do the work and focus on a wide-angle lens than a telelens, so forth.

Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet18


After 20 years (1970) of passing from Delft University of Technology, the man himself got invited to teach students of architecture. He even says, “Architects must react to the world, not each other”. He was an asset to the university with his diverse spectrum in different fields of architecture.

Lectures and Documentary

Berlage Institute (1991)- He expressed his idea about education, explaining why students shall not be steered by the teachers and be allowed to explore. The lecture even had been shared with Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, and others.

Searching for Space(2009) – The main goal of the documentary was to inspire and motivate architects where Herman Hertzberger gets inspiration from; and who preceded him.

Royal Gold Medal winner: Herman Hertzberger - Sheet19
Searching for space_©e-flux

4 = Accolades

His contributions to the society are his vision have led him to achieve the following:

  • Richard Neutra Award for Professional Excellence (1989, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona)
  • RIBA Royal Gold Medal (2012, London)
  • Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture (2015, University of Virginia)
  • Accademico d’Onore or honorary member (Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, Florence)
Royal Gold Medal received by Mr. Hertzberger_©The Architects' Journal
Royal Gold Medal received by Mr. Hertzberger_©The Architects’ Journal

Herman Hertzberger = 7.9 billion | Herman Hertzberger 

Feeling of being served by the surroundings_©AHH

HH has always thought for the best of the people while keeping aside aesthetics, budgets, and problems; and it continues. The Dutch architect has always thought of the best for society, whether it is about human dignity in the past; living for the society at present, or will express the best solutions in the future. The person’s teachings and perspectives are the main things an architect shall make the goal.

’It’s time to relax’- Montessori school, Delft_©Bozar
’My own void’- A school design by Herman_©Bozar
Hi! I am Herman Hertzberger_©OnOfficemagazine


  1. n.d. [online] Available at: <https://www.hertzberger.nl/index.php/en/> [Accessed 17 May 2022].
  2. n.d. [online] Available at: <https://www.ahh.nl/index.php/nl/> [Accessed 17 May 2022].
  3. Dezeen. n.d. Herman Hertzberger to receive the Royal Gold medal for architecture. [online] Available at: <https://www.dezeen.com/2011/12/06/herman-hertzberger-to-receive-the-royal-gold-medal-for-architecture/> [Accessed 17 May 2022].
  4. Archdaily.com. n.d. Herman Hertzberger | Tag | ArchDaily. [online] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/tag/herman-hertzberger> [Accessed 17 May 2022].
  5. n.d. Lessons for Students in Architecture By Herman Hertzberger. 1st ed. [ebook] Herman Hertzberger. Available at: <https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=l7KxKAAHW2sC&oi=fnd&pg=PA12&ots=XH_uJksFmZ&sig=_1AVSQs0yP5QYL1NrTvev3MsY4g&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false> [Accessed 17 May 2022].
  6. Workplace | Design | Architecture. n.d. Herman Hertzberger: The super-humanist. [online] Available at: <https://www.onofficemagazine.com/opinion/herman-hertzberger-the-super-humanist> [Accessed 17 May 2022].

Anmol Billa is an architect by profession, but he is also a student with a thirst for knowledge. He portrays architecture as a synthesis of art and technology, with a primary focus on the needs of the community. He enjoys upgrading himself regularly by carefully analyzing numerous parameters ranging from context to culture, origins to contemporary life, and accessibility to sustainability. "If my design fails to bring betterment and connectedness to society, I fail," he says.