History of Architecture Anthea Maria Vella1 | P a g eHenry Van De VeldeBorn on 3rd April 1863 in Antwerp, Belgium, Henry Van De Velde was an architect and designer. He was an influential figure in the field of Art Nouveau in Belgium, along with Victor Horta and Paul Hankar. The majority of his career took place in Germany and he influenced German architecture and design of the early 20th century. (Architectuul 2011) (Costas 2008)(The Editors of Encyclopdia 2017)He began his career, studying painting under the supervision of Charles Verlat at the famous Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp and continued his studies in Paris with Carolus Duran until 1895. Being such a younger painter he was influenced the works of Paul Signac and Georges Seurat. The adopted the neo-impressionist style after he was influenced by their work. He was also part of the neo-impressionist society known as L`Art Independent. Since he was a great follower of Seurat, he was interested in his notions of space and how it was applied in architecture. During his studies, he was also part of the Brussels-based artist group “Les XX”. Van de Velde becomes one of the first artists to also be influence by the works of Vincent Van Gogh, after his exposure to his work at an exhibition that hosted the artist group.(Architectuul 2011)(Costas 2008)In the year 1892, Van de Velde started devoting his time to arts of decoration and interior design rather than painting. His first architectural work was his house Bloemenwerf in Uccle. This work was architecture was mainly inspired by the British and American Arts and Crafts. The interior design of the house was a combination of applied arts with fine arts. (Costas 2008)The work of the Belgian architect and designer Van De Velde were well-known in Germany, especially through periodicals such as Innen-Dekoration. He received various commissions for interior design in Berlin and around the early 1900’s, he designed Villa Leuring in the Netherlands and Villa Esche in Chemnits. These two architectural works were mainly based on Art Nouveau architectural style. Around the year 1905, the Grand Duke of Weimer instructed him to establish the Grand-Ducal School of Arts and Crafts in Weimer. This school was the predecessor of the Bauhaus, which replace the Arts and Crafts Movement under the new director Walter Gropius. (Architectuul 2011)He played a very important role in German Werkbund, especially to improve and promote German design. We can establish that Van De Velde called for the upholding of the individuality of artists. (Architectuul 2011)On his return to Belgium, during World War 1, he established La Cambre, in Brussels. He continued to practice his profession, which was decreasing in Figure 1: Henry Van De Velde (1863-1957) Source: Gustav-Mahler (Dijr 2015)History of Architecture Anthea Maria Vella2 | P a g epopularity around 1910. During the decline of this movement, he was mentoring he well-known Belgian architect, Victor Bourgeois. (Architectuul 2011)He settled in Switzerland and the Netherland during the war were he designed the Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterlo. Henry Van De Velde passed away on 2nd October 1957 in Zurich Switzerland. (The Editors of Encyclopdia 2017)(Architectuul 2011)(Costas 2008)Henry Van De Velde: WorksHenry Van de Velde’s views have been influenced by the aesthetics of Morris. It can be assumed that the Belgian architect was highly concerned about the fine arts’ future and wanted that the artistic creations were available for the many rather than for the few. (Smigielski, 2004)Henry Van De Velde has worked on a variety of projects.? 1895–96: “Bloemenwerf”, Van de Velde’s first private residence, in Ukkel, Belgium? 1895: Interior decoration of Siegfried Bing’s art Gallery “Maison de l’art nouveau” in Paris, France? 1900–02: Interior of the Folkwang Museum in Hagen, Germany? 1902–03, 1911 (extension): “Villa Esche” in Chemnitz, Germany? 1903: Extension and interior decoration of the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar, Germany? 1906–07: Clubhouse of the “Chemnitzer Lawn-Tennis-Club” in Chemnitz (demolished)? 1907–08: “Hohenhof”, Mansion for Karl Ernst Osthaus in Hagen, Germany? 1907–08: “Haus Hohe Pappeln”, Van de Velde’s private residence in Weimar, Germany? 1909–11: “Ernst-Abbe-Denkmal”, Memorial for Ernst Abbe in Jena (in collaboration with the sculptors Max Klinger and Constantin Meunier)? 1912–13: Palace for Graf Dürckheim in Weimar, Germany? 1913–14: “Werkbund-Theater”, Theatre at the Deutsche Werkbund exhibition in Cologne, Germany? 1913–14: “Villa Schulenburg” in Gera, Germany? 1913–14: Wohnhaus für den Fabrikanten Dr. Theo Koerner in Chemnitz, Germany? 1927–28: “La Nouvelle Maison”, Van de Velde’s private residence in Tervuren, Belgium? 1929–31: Home for the elderly of the ‘Minna und James Heinemann-Stiftung’ in Hannover, Germany? 1933–35: Polyclinic and “Villa Landing” for Dr. Adriaan Martens in “Astene” near Ghent, Belgium? 1933–38: Library of Ghent University with “Boekentoren” in Ghent, Belgium? 1936–42: “Technische School”, School building in Leuven, Belgium? 1937: Belgian Pavilion at the 1937 Paris Exposition? 1937: “Station Blankenberge”, Train station in Blankenberge? 1939: Belgian Building for the 1939 New York World’s FairHistory of Architecture Anthea Maria Vella3 | P a g eHenry Van De Velde: Bloemenwerf HouseBloemenwerf House was Van De Velde’s first private residence. It is located in Ukkel, Belgium. It was constructed between the 1895 and 1896. The architect Van De Velde, designed the building as well as the interior and furnishings. One can mention that this house was mainly inspired by the William Morris’s Red House which is located in London and was built 35 years before the Bloemenwerf. Bloemenwerf was built with masonry and timber and is highly suitable for temperate environments. Henry Van De Velde presents a very interesting synthesis of the characteristic currents of the time, while bringing a new dimension to it. If one had to analysis further the building itself, it can be observed that the there is a lack of ornamentation. This was very unusual appearance because it removed the artistic visions of the time. (Artifice Inc. 2014)(Belgium 2008)This residence is a 2 storey building, with its facades built by of coated brick. It has a central plan with a skylight. The building has a form of a polygon and is located at a steep terrain. A complex roof structure is obtained by the inclined walls and the multiple recesses that are present throughout the building. the façade is divided in a way to obtain a broken a silhouette. The main façade is composed of bays with curved lintels. These are equipped with wooden frames and folding shutters. The garden layout was done by Van De Velde’s wife, who was his closest associate. (Belgium 2008)The interior part of the house is composed of an entrance which leads to the ground floor. On the ground floor one can appreciate a large central hall which is divided in two levels covered by a skylight. The double level gives access to various rooms by the use of a double stair case. The Belgian’s architect studio is located on the north side of the building and is well lit by a large window. The interior doors are partially glazed. Unity can be observed due to the low arch and pane glazing which can also be observed in the outer windows.(Belgium 2008)In general, it can be concluded that the general appearance of the interior is intimate and of great sobriety. It looks complete with its ostentatious character that can be observed in traditional bourgeois dwellings of the time. The Bloemenwerf belongs to the art Nouveau but it unique in every way since it was removed from what already characterised the Brussels ornamental vocabulary. The house is both a private and a professional residence. With this equal treatment the building can be considered to be “democratic” in design especially in the modernist architecture of the 20th century.It demonstrates an exchange of influence over a period of time in a given cultural area, on the development of architecture or technology, monumental arts, city planning or landscape creation. Figure 2: Bloemenwerf House Source: Wikipedia (unknown 1896)History of Architecture Anthea Maria Vella4 | P a g eHenry Van De Velde: Werkbund Theater BuildingWerkbund Theatre Building was built in 1914 in Cologne Germany by the architect Henry Van de Velde. The structural system used was concrete framing and it is built in a Modern and Art Nouveau Style. It was known as the “Artists Theatre” since it hosted avant-garde Symbolists and Expressionist drama.The Werkbund theatre was constructed for the Werkbund Exhibition. Van de Velde managed to create a theatrical space which was capable of accommodating a wide variety of dramatic performances ranging from modest pageant plays to symbolist and realist pieces which were more suited to the proscenium stage. The building was built with massed wall and reinforced concrete frame, rendered over so as to form a homogenous and plastic expression. The building had to serve as a point of departure from the post-war work of Eric Mendelsohn. The brooding telluric mass of the Werkbund theatre, reminiscent in many respects of Rudolf Steiner’s anthropological form, was to mark that point in van de Velde’s career, when the more animate ‘form force’ aesthetic of his early furniture gave way to the much more solid, not to say ponderous expression. (Kenneth Frampton 1983)The building represents the marriage of convenience by the various German artists that contributed in the creation of the theatre. Although there was a marriage of different modes, the building is considered to be a seamless architectural whole. The three main protagonists were the architect Henry Van De Velde, Ostaus and Obrist, all of which are individualists that had an instrumental role in the building of this piece of modern architecture. (Kuenzli 2012)The effect of the light and shadow across the façade this is obtained by the combination of convex and concave surfaces which are found across the façade. This produces an interesting interplay with light and shadow. If one had to observe the interior structure of the Werkbund theatre, one can describe the foyer reveals that the main eye-shaped windows allow plenty of light inside the area. (Kuenzli 2012)It is hard to determine that architectural style it was built in. Werkbund Theatre, which is considered to be an innovation in its design and its functionality purposes, has no ornamentation in its façade which explains why it is considered to be a purely-based on the functionality principles. The modernist approach undertaken by Van De Velde made the building aesthetically innovative and technologically advanced stage. Its design can be considered to be unified and was constructed with an individualistic approach.Figure 3: Werkbund Theatre Building Source: Rheinische Art (Verlag 2013)History of Architecture Anthea Maria Vella5 | P a g eHenry Van De Velde: De BoekentorenThe Boekentoren, also known as the Book Tower or the Tower of Wisdom, it is located in Ghent, Belgium, was designed by Henry Van De Velde in 1933. Nowadays, the building forms part of the Ghent University Library. It currently houses approximately 3 million books. The design of the library was mainly inspired by the public library of Los Angeles which has a shape of a tower.(Van Peteghem 2006)(Ghent, n.d.)The book tower is situated on the highest part of the city and it acts as a beacon or symbol to the university. The librarians were so optimistic about the plans that Van De Velde had presented and had commissioned another architect for the job. After Van De Velde presented a Plastic model of the entire structure, a large amount of changes occurred with the final plan being submitted in 1935. The construction began in 1936. The construction consisted of a 64m high tower, with a 4 storey basement and a belvedere at the top. The material chosen for this construction was left in the hands of the colleagues of Van De Velde, Gustave Magnel and the reinforced concrete specialist Jean-Norbert Cloquet. The concrete fact that the 64 m tower was built entirely of concrete and sliding shuttering was introduced in Belgium. (Van Peteghem 2006)(Wouter Van Acker, Pieter Uyttenhove and Peteghem 2014)On the other hand, the exterior is composed of bare concrete with bluestone cladding. This made the façade quite unusual. If the building is viewed from the top, one will observe the shape of a Greek cross. This symbol represents the connection of the heavens and earth and to merge time and space.(Flanders 2014)The architect Van De Velde designed the interior of the tower. If one had to consider the reading room, they are particularly placed according to the incidence of the light on the building. The window profiles, floor patterns, knobs, furniture apart from the rest were all designed by the architect. Due to the war outbreak, some of the materials were replaced such as the marble instead of the rubber for the floors, and the only part of the furniture was produced. (Wouter Van Acker, Pieter Uyttenhove and Peteghem 2014)(Ghent, n.d.)From the above analysis, one can understand the versatility of the architect. He was able to design the exterior as well as every internal detail of the building keeping in mind the continuity and the harmony of the lines, which is typical for gothic cathedrals. Observing the façade which is solely composed of concrete and the vertical bands of glass form a brutalist façade, which reveals its function; protecting the 3 million books on its concrete book shelves. The tower can be considered as a beacon of inspiration to aspiring architecture students especially for its functionality especially in the design of the reading rooms as mentioned previously. Figure 4: Construction of the Boekentoren Source: Architectuur de Gent (Unknown 2017)History of Architecture Anthea Maria Vella6 | P a g eConclusionI consider the architect Henry Van De Velde to a very flexible in terms of material usage and his innovative exterior and interior designs. It can be concluded that his works are mainly based on functionality. This can be mainly observed in the case study of the De Boekentoren.Through the research I have conducted, his architectural works are based mainly on art Nouveau style. He was particularly aware of the modern era coming to life and therefore his designs evolved with time. His designs managed to shape society as a whole. This is because his ideas were mainly based to suite a specific purpose. If I had to describe his architecture, I would describe it as utopian. I came up to this conclusion because the majority of his architecture aims at being perfect.One can observe that he managed to inspire various other architects and was of a great influence on the decorative arts that take place nowadays. In my opinion he has given a great contribution to the world of architecture during his time. This is because he re-informed this area with new ideas and innovation.In my opinion the architect, observed a transition from secession to a more functional period. His idea visualisation was driven with time. It can be deducted that Van De Velde appreciated beauty, functionality and passion in what he designs. All of his works were executed with passion, this being deducted from the detail he established in the interior design of various villas, such as the Bloemenwerf House.From the following studies, one can observe that the architect wanted to raise more awareness about the aesthetics among the society. He did not stick with the ideology that concrete was an ugly material. He introduced it in non-ornamented facades such as the De Boekentoren, which has exposed concrete on its façade with glass window bands. This illustrates the brutalist approach. He wanted to exploit the beauty of the various materials available during his time. He was able to reform movement in Europe with this ideology he created.In conclusion, the architect Henry Van de Velde has inspired me to experiment with new materials whilst keeping in mind their various properties and exploit them to the best advantage.History of Architecture Anthea Maria Vella7 | P a g eBibliographyArchitectuul. 2011. “Henry van de Velde,” 2011. http://architectuul.com/architect/henry-van-de-velde.Artifice Inc. 2014. “Bloemenwerf.” 2014. http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Bloemenwerf_House.html.Belgium, Directorate of Monuments and Sites of the Brussels Capital Region of. 2008. “The Architectural Work of Henry van de Velde.” 2008. http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5356/.Costas, Carolina. 2008. “Henri Van de Velde.” El Historial Del Diseño. 2008. https://carocostas.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/henri-van-de-velde/.Flanders, Visit. 2014. “The Towering Design of Henry Van De Velde.” 2014. http://www.visitflanders.com/en/stories/arts-and-heritage/the-towering-design-of-henry-van-de-velde.jsp.Ghent, Univerisy Library. n.d. “De Boekentoren.” http://www.boekentoren.be/boekentoren_mod2_EN.aspx?url=en_gebouw.Kenneth Frampton. 1983. Modern Architecture 1851-1945. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1983.Kuenzli, Katherine M. 2012. “Architecture, Individualism, and Nation: Henry van de Velde’s 1914 Werkbund Theater Building.” The Art Bulletin 94 (2):251–73. https://doi.org/10.1080/00043079.2012.10786040.Peteghem, Sylvia Van. 2006. “Never Say Never. About the Restoration of Henry van de Velde’s Booktower.” In LIBER Quarterly. Vol. 16. https://www.liberquarterly.eu/articles/10.18352/lq.7843/.?migielski, Wojciech. 2004. “Henry Van De Velde- Arts with Frontiers.” 2004. http://www.henryvandevelde.pl/en/html/text_wojciechsmigielski.php.The Editors of Encyclopdia, Britannica. 2017. “Henry van de Velde.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 2017. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Henry-van-de-Velde.Wouter Van Acker, Pieter Uyttenhove, And, and Sylvia Van Peteghem. 2014. “Library Towers and the Vetical Dimension of Knowledge.” Library Trends 62 (3):530–40.