The Dutch Documentation Centre for Architecture, Waterlooplein Square, Amsterdam, early seventies.NAI Collection/NAIN
The NAI was formed in 1988 by a merger of The Stichting Architectuurmuseum, the Nederlands Documentatiecentrum voor de Bouwkunst, and Stichting Wonen. These three organizations placed their collections in the care of the new institute. The history of the collection however, goes much further back.
The Maatschappij tot Bevordering der Bouwkunst (Society for Promotion of Architecture) was founded in 1842. It did justice to its name by organizing discussions and exhibitions and by holding competitions. The results of its efforts were published in its own periodical Bouwkundige Bijdragen. The activities led to the accumulation of a collection of drawings, most of which were unfortunately lost in a fire. The surviving portion, together with the archives of the society itself, now form an important 19th century source of information.
New initiatives led to the formation of a collection in the early years of the 20th century. In 1912, J.H.W. Leliman published an article in the periodical De Bouwwereld arguing for the foundation of an architecture museum. It received many positive reactions, and a National Committee was established to investigate the proposal, but no concrete plans were made. The idea remained alive in architectural circles, however. This became apparent when a major exhibition about Dutch architecture was held on the occasion of the Royal Jubilee of Queen Wilhelmina in 1923. The architects who lent their drawings for this event were asked to part with them on behalf of the collection of the future museum. Many of them complied; the content of that exhibition now forms part of the NAI Collection.
Stichting Architectuur Museum
Following the Second World War, it was once again architects who took the lead in forming the Stichting Architectuur Museum ("Architecture Museum Foundation", SAM). They began collecting archives, but the task of managing them turned out to be problematic. The Government then decided to establish the NDB ("Netherlands Documentation Center for Architecture"), a subsection of Rijksdienst voor de Monumentenzorg (Netherlands Department for Conservation). The NDB was given charge of the SAM archives, and together they continued building up the collection by acquiring archives and a library. These archives and the library form the basis of the present NAI Collection.
Another important pillar of the collection is the library of the former Stichting Wonen. This foundation was a successor of the Stichting Goed Wonen, established in 1946 to promote functional and "good" domestic design. It dropped its normative objectives during the sixties to become Stichting Wonen. Architecture was now seen more as a cultural activity. The foundation concentrated on disseminating its ideas and organized many exhibitions. It also issued educational materials and publications, among them the architecture journal Wonen-TABK.
200 drawings, models and photographs from the collection of The New Institute will be on show this autumn at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Together with several items on loan from contemporary architectural firms, they will form the exhibition Architecture the Dutch Way 1945-2000 which is about the design of the Netherlands after the Second World War. The exhibition will be held in St. Petersburg from 16 October to 12 January as part of the Netherlands-Russia Year 2013. > Read more ...
June 2009 | Changes in acquisitions policy make it less likely for
complete architects’ archives to be included in the NAI’s collection.
Carel Weeber’s archive, however, belongs to the category of exceptional
cases. Even if selection criteria are narrowed down, it goes without
saying that an archive as important as this one will be acquired in its
entirety. On 2 June, in the presence of Carel Weeber, the transfer of
the archive was “celebrated” with the introduction of the NAI’s new
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The first thematic exhibition in 'Living in the Lowlands, the domestic scene in the collection of the NAI' is 'The Netherlands Builds in Brick'. This special display within the permanent exhibition comprises material that formed the first architectural exhibition at the neighboring Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 1941.
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The Delft University of Technology in collaboration with the NAI and
Rijksdienst voor Monumentenzorg (the Netherlands Department for the
Preservation of Monuments and Historic Buildings) has scanned a number
of important architectural periodicals from the period 1850-1945.
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In the new permanent exhibition Treasury, you can admire 100 highlights from the vast NAI collection. Works on display include famous designs by the icons of Dutch architectural history such as Cuypers, Dudok, Rietveld and Koolhaas. The Treasury completes the new NAI, museum of architecture.
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