Ton Alberts

30/04/2000


(1927-1999)

On August 16, complications resulting from a minor operation put an end to the life of Ton Alberts, the Dutch architect whose biography lived up to the ‘courage to dream’ he asked of all. This motto is also present in his architecture, which he tried to make human and ecological. In 1989 he finished the Amsterdam ING Bank headquarters, which he materialized with an expressionistic language close to the Goetheanum of the builder and theosophist Rudolf Steiner. The ten leaning brick towers of this office complex point to the sky with a tortuous geometry determined by acoustics and the sun’s movements. But perhaps the most significant thing about the work is that the architect had close and frequent contact with the future users even before starting to draw, so that the project constituted a model for participatory, democratic architecture. The building for the firm Gas Unie HQ (1994), amid the horizontal landscape of the northern polder, was conceived as a critique on the excessive rationalization of contemporary constructions and as an assertion of the importance of intuition, emotion and fantasy in the design process.