Window Tales I (2009) Sarianne Breuker & Anuli Croon & Stang & Milou from Ham & Ben Zegers
In the 50s, the then new residential area of Pendrecht, in South Rotterdam, was an example of modern construction. Buses full of people from home and abroad came to see how ingenious this neighborhood had been designed by Lotte Stam-Beese, an architect who combined her Bauhaus tradition with new artistic and sociological insights. Pendrecht's design history is told through 56 glass appliqué windows designed by six artists. This art project, called Window stories, is an initiative of Van Schagen Architecten, Woonstad Rotterdam and CBK Rotterdam. Sixty years after the start of the reconstruction of Rotterdam, construction activity in the city is greater than around 1950. Impoverished districts have been redesigned, especially on the south side of the Maas. Woonstad Rotterdam commissioned Van Schagen Architecten to renovate part of Pendrecht. The buildings and floor plan were built at the time according to modern ideals of space, stamps, scale and rhythm.
Lotte Stam-Beese was trained in modern construction. This Polish architect, originally a fabric weaver, worked after her time at the Bauhaus in the former Czechoslovakia where Modern Building emerged, in Berlin, Moscow, and many other cities, but would remain in Rotterdam from 1946. Rotterdam became her piece de resistance. And within that Pendrecht became her most beautiful achievement. Stam-Beese set to work with little money but plenty of ideals. She designed an urban district according to a principle of 'stamps': a repeating rectangle of different types of houses and greenery. According to her, this stratification was a result of her building in the Soviet Union, but is clearly also related to modernisms, which were celebrated both in the Interbellum and after the war. Space was a metaphor for freedom and a visual principle - for architects, designers and visual artists. Abstraction was a metaphor for transcending the personal, the pursuit of the golden ratio.
Van Schagen Architecten delved into this unique design history and approached CBK Rotterdam for an art commission. In order to clarify how the artistic ideas from the visual arts shaped the plan for Pendrecht, with a vital beauty that is emphasized by the restructuring, it was decided to bring visual art into the neighborhood. The CBK asked six visual artists to translate Pendrecht's modernism into glass appliqué windows. Under the direction of Olphaert den Otter, Sarianne Breuker, Anuli Croon, Stang Gubbels, Milou van Ham and Ben Zegers worked on designs for the windows. Monumental post-war art, such as glass appliqué, together with architecture sang about the future beliefs of reconstruction. To this end, the artists in this project have highlighted aspects that are characteristic of Stam-Beese's philosophy, such as landscaping, stamps, people and abstract beauty. The more than fifty windows that this produced were placed in the porches of the houses on Melissantstraat and Middelharnisstraat. Originally, these were 224 social rental homes, but they have been combined into 112 spacious social rental and owner-occupied homes.
Sarianne Breuker (Grijpskerk, 1960) studied at the Minerva art academy in Groningen, where she later started teaching. In 1992 she won the Royal Award for Painting. Her work has been recorded in various municipalities, including The Hague, Groningen, Rotterdam, Assen and Arnhem.