Van Zessen House
The Van Zessen House is in the town of Alblasserdam, birthplace of the famous urban planner Cornelis van Eesteren, who later made a name for himself with his General Expansion Plan for Amsterdam. Growing up in Alblasserdam and having a father in the contracting business shaped Van Eesteren both personally and professionally. His meetings with the great artistic talents of his time, including the artist Theo van Doesburg, helped to forge his ideas and the visual vocabulary of modern architecture and urban development.
Photo: Piet Gispen Photography
Van Eesteren took his design drawings for the Van Zessen House to Paris, where Theo van Doesburg created a colour scheme for the interior and exterior. The drawings were then posted back to Alblasserdam with instructions for the painter.
When the house was completed in November of 1923, Van Eesteren had already obtained photographs of it. In February 1924 he wrote that he loved the colours and took daily pleasure in the result.
At the time, the house was built by Van Eesteren’s father’s contracting company on behalf of the widow of grocer Arie van Zessen, Burgerina van Zessen-Stout.
The Van Zessen House has become one of the earliest examples of modern functionalist architecture: sleek volumes, covered by a flat roof and enlivened with functional elements in primary colours.
The Van Zessen House was purchased in 1990 by the Van Eesteren-Fluck & Van Lohuizen Foundation, which manages the estate of Van Eesteren and his partner Theodoor van Lohuizen (www.efl-stichting.nl), and subsequently restored by architect Bertus Mulder and turned into a museum house.