Herman Haan - “... niet gecompliceerder—maar ook niet eenvoudiger”

In 1963, Herman Haan (1914—1996) designed a two-storey building for the Graan Elevator Company. The upper floor served as an office, while on the lower floor were two official flats with a garage.

The building stood empty for a long time, in expectation of a new owner. We took the initiative during this transitional period to set up a small exhibition of the work of Herman Haan; of which tried to illuminate the theoretical background of Haan’s architecture. Four ‘projects’—his own house, the CIAM conference in Otterloo, the dormitories on the TU Twente campus, and the 1964 Telleme expedition—were used to illustrate Haan’s views on architecture, of which he never clearly expressed himself.

The story and context of these projects were illustrated by means of scale models, drawings, and photographs; on four exhibition blocks built with minimal means. In addition, there were sound fragments on the respective themes: recordings of the CIAM conference organised by Team Ten in 1959, of which Haan himself was involved; interviews with Haan’s collaborator Jacques Groeneveld; then-trainee Joop van Stigt and the current occupant of Herman Haan’s former house. We also showed the NCRV’s 1964 documentary film about Haan;s expedition to the Tellem, a now-extinct tribe who lived in the Dogon region in Mali. A photo installation showed the original interiors of the Graan Elevator building.

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The exposition in Twente

The exhibition then travelled to Twente, where it was presented by the regional architecture centre; reappeared in parts at another exhibition in Gouda (where Haan later lived).