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At the end of 2019, Het Nieuwe Instituut acquired the estate of the architect Hans Tupker (1935-2015). The acquisition of this archive stems from the exhibition Structuralism (2014), which drew upon the archives of, among others, Piet Blom, Joop van Stigt and Herman Hertzberger. The archive of Hans Tupker forms a complement to these archives. The institute still has to conduct research into the detailed contents of the archive, so now is a good time to take a closer look at the acquisition process, because this provides relevant information for the interpretation of the archive. For example, how do we work with the donor and which choices are made when selecting and evaluating individual projects and documents?

International jet set

While the focus among architects in Amsterdam in the 1970s was on urban renewal and resident participation, Hans Tupker turned his attention to the emerging ideas of international postmodernism. Long before they became world famous, architects such as Zaha Hadid and members of the New York Five – Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves and John Hejduk – visited Tupker in Amsterdam. He introduced them to students, including Tony Goossens, Bart Lootsma, Gert Jan Willemse and Wim van den Bergh, as guest lecturers and visiting critics and as part of discussions about the future of the profession. Over the course of his life, Tupker expanded his international network all the way to Japan with contacts such as Tadao Ando and Takamitsu Azuma.

This acquisition has been enormously enriched by Joosje Tupker’s and Madeleine Steigenga’s stories about Hans Tupker’s international contacts and his position in the professional field. They include the story of Zaha Hadid (1950-2016) staying overnight at their house and taking a bath in their relatively small bathtub. Stories such as these, which sound even better when recounted by those who experienced them, and the often very personal documents in an archive, make selecting and evaluating them a delicate process. The entire architect is suffused not only with an architect’s professional attitude but also with his personality.

Het Nieuwe Instituut expects to start cataloguing the archive in the course of 2020.

 

Text: Eline de Graaf (curator) and Ellen Smit (curator). Photography: Petra van der Ree