‘This is the complete works from top to bottom.’ For most of the panel this monograph on the work of architect Herman Hertzberger commanded respect. On the basis of a fundamentally optimistic outlook, Hertzberger believes in architecture as a collective discipline. He is regarded as one of the most important designers of schools, a field which he has virtually reinvented all on his own, but he has also built widely for cultural institutions and ministries. Hence this volume, constructed on an appropriate scale and ‘as sharp as the concrete he always uses’.

The panel were unanimous that the photographs of his buildings have been beautifully done. ‘You know in an instant what they’re about – and at last, for a change, there are people in them, the people all those buildings were designed for.’ The result is a book that stands out from the mass of architecture books. The binding is also excellent, thought the panel, in addition to which the paper was exactly the right thickness. ‘It hinges fantastically well and is perfectly tensioned.’ Here, clearly, no one was frightened of using superlatives. The page layout generated a sense of balanced calm. The idea of using two 

sorts of paper met with distinct approval for emphasizing the narrative aspect, and the pale grey-green colour was appropriate to Hertzberger’s style, a kind of implicit ode.

‘This is a generously dimensioned book without being ostentatious – it’s stuffed full of content, without going to excess.’ The panel – having found not a few covers quite irritating – also felt the need to say something about the successful and nicely unsubtle cover, where the typography has some fun with the perspective axis. It may be bold, but then Hertzberger’s buildings are bold too.


Author Robert McCarter

Year 2015

Language English

Edited by David Koralek

Publisher nai010 publishers, Rotterdam

Designer Beukers Scholma

Prepress NPN Drukkers, Breda

Printer NPN Drukkers, Breda

Binder Boekbinderij Abbringh, Groningen

Size 240 x 300 x 50

Number of pages 524 p.

Print run 2,750

Price € 69

ISBN 978 94 6208 203 8

Font Rockwell (Linotype)

Binding style Sewn hardback, foil blocking on front cover

Material 140gsm Magno Natural, 150gsm Magno Volume Bulk (interior), 140gsm Magno Natural (endpapers), 125gsm Wibalin Satina 500 White, over grey board (binding)