By Ad Bercht
About a year ago there was a small exhibition in the Faculty of Architecture Library with books from the library of Cornelis van Eesteren. This library is part of the collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam (HNI). Now, for the second time, it is made possible to show a selection of the books which were once in the possession of Van Eesteren. Het Nieuwe Instituut is also the custodian of an extensive Van Eesteren archive.
Cornelis van Eesteren was one of the most outstanding Dutch urban designers of the 20th century. During the thirties and forties Van Eesteren was the chairman of the CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne). In 1948 he became professor at the university in Delft, then called the TH (Technische Hogeschool). Together with Theodoor van Lohuizen, also professor at the TH, he was responsible for the General Extension Plan for Amsterdam.
TU Delft Library also has a collection which is related to Van Eesteren, though these books never have been part of Van Eesteren’s own library. These publications in our collection are categorized under the term ‘EFL-Bibliotheek‘.
All the books which are on display here focus on the topics ‘the sun’ and ‘recreation’ and most of the books are in Dutch. A few titles are in English or Germen. There are books about recreation places and holiday camps, about sunlight in architecture and the problem of recreation in the open air. Some highlights are an interesting book by J.P. Müller about air and light and one with Egyptian songs dedicated to the sun.
Cornelis van Eesteren in swimming trunks
Besides books there are also photos on display, including the one posted above. Like the books, these photos are also a loan from Het Nieuwe Instituut.
The exhibition is available until 12 June 2015.