The Rotterdam company of architects ABBT (NEPK2554-55)


Dick Apon / Eric van den Boom, 1977, bronze, cast, 73 mm, NEPK2554

The medal’s obverse shows a plan view of the Adriaanstichting – Mytylschool for handicapped children located in Rotterdam-Schiebroek. The text on the reverse states the 20 years process of preparation, design and realisation of the building complex. Along the edge the name of the architects company is given: APON – VAN DEN BERG – TER BRAAK – TROMP – ARCHITEKTEN.

The four above named architects founded the company, later simply renamed ABBT, in 1955. Dirk Cornelis (Dick) Apon studied architecture at the HTS (polytechnic) in Rotterdam and completed the Academies of Architecture in Amsterdam en Rotterdam. Apon was a leading advocate of the so-called ‘structuralism’, a view on architecture that stresses the architects’ role in society, the creation of space in a metaphorical way: freedom for and participation by the user. This is expressed by the geometrical arrangement of the key elements to create one coherent form without a clear hierarchy (structures). This is visible not only in the design of the Mytylschool, but equally in ABBT designs such as the church in Kinderdijk (1962), the Dutch embassy building in New Delhi (1962-1972) and the crematorium in Rotterdam-Zuid (1968-1969). A striking feature of the plan forms of these buildings is the orientation at a 45 degrees angle relative to the main axis of the building site and the road.

The most well-known ABBT design with this feature is the complex Bezuidenhoutseweg 67 in The Hague, realised in 1985 to house the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since 2021 it is used as the temporary home of the Tweede Kamer (Second Chamber of Parliament), until the renovation of the Binnenhof complex has been completed.

For the medal shown, click:

For earlier news items, click: