Jan Duiker

Ingenious architect with a brief career

Jan Duiker graduated as a civil engineer in 1913, at the same time as his friend Bernard Bijvoet. Three years later, the young men started their own architectural firm in The Hague. In 1918, they won a major competition with a new design for the building of the Amsterdam Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten. Unfortunately, the design fell through. The partners, however, started a new firm in 1919 using the prize money.

Colleague-architects praised Duiker’s ingenuity: design and technical problems were solved by Duiker on paper and in construction, seemingly effortlessly. He often worked
alone and was one of the most important Dutch representatives of the Nieuwe Bouwen movement in the 1920s and 1940s.

His companion Bijvoet left for Paris in 1925. Duiker had a hard time in the context of the financial crisis. He began a collaboration with concrete specialist Wiebenga, which resulted in 1929 in the Netherlands’ first apartment building: the Nirwana flat in The Hague. In the years that followed, he worked on various designs and renovations.

Duiker died of cancer in 1935 at the age of 44. His last design, Hotel Gooiland in Hilversum, was completed by Bijvoet. Many of Duiker’s buildings are now national monuments.

Ir. Jan Duiker received this award because of his expertise as an engineer and the architectural innovation that his designs express.