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Architectengroep de 8.

Dutch association of architects, based in Amsterdam from 1927 to 1942. It was founded by six former pupils of the School voor Bouwkunde, Versierende Kunsten en Ambachten in Haarlem: BEN MERKELBACH, J. H. GROENEWEGEN, Charles Karsten (1904–79), Hans van den Bosch (b 1900), Henri E. van de Pauwert (1895–1981) and Pieter Jan Verschuyl (1902–83). The name, probably coined by van de Pauwert during his military service, derived from the command to attention used in the Dutch army—‘geef acht’, ‘acht’ in Dutch meaning either ‘attention’ or ‘eight’. In the manifesto of De 8, published in the journal I 10 (1927), the young architects presented themselves as pragmatic and international, thus taking a stand against the expressive architectural outlook of the Amsterdam school to which their former teachers belonged. The declaration of intent, stimulated by the ideas of H. P. Berlage, De Stijl and contacts with functionalism in Belgium and Germany, attracted other Dutch architects and engineers connected with the Nieuwe Bouwen (‘new building’) movement of the 1920s. In 1928 Albert Boeken, Johannes Duiker and Jan Gerko Wiebenga (1886–1974) joined the group, the latter two already having designed a number of functionalist buildings. Boeken was mainly active as a publicist. The avowedly functionalist architect CORNELIS VAN EESTEREN joined in 1929 and introduced urban planning to the group. They took an active part in international CIAM congresses from 1929, van Eesteren becoming chairman of CIAM in 1930. De 8 soon took a stand in Amsterdam in favour of high-rise building and modern social housing construction . In 1932 De 8 officially joined forces with the Rotterdam group of modern architects DE OPBOUW, whose members included Johannes Bernardus van Loghem and Leendert Cornelis van der Vlugt. While members of the two groups continued to practise individually in the two cities, an editorial team was formed to produce the journal De 8 en Opbouw, an important forum for new architecture in the Netherlands. Their ideas gained increasing resonance, and in 1934 the younger architects of Groep 32 joined, as did Mart Stam, Gerrit Rietveld and Sybold van Ravesteyn. The group debated functionalist principles at the end of the 1930s, and a number of members left, including Rietveld and van Ravesteyn. The German occupation paralysed the architects’ activities as a group, and publication of De 8 en Opbouw ceased in 1942.


Theo van Doesburg & Cornelis van Eesteren (architects),
Gerrit Rietveld (model). Hôtel Particulier, model. 1923. Photo, Rotterdam, Netherlands Architecture Institute.



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