Embodiment takes command: Re-enacting Aldo and Hannie van Eyck’s homelife

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Grounded in an experiential understanding of architecture, this research explores ways in which architectural history can help bring works or ideas more vividly to the present. We propose here an embodied visit to Aldo and Hannie van Eyck’s house in Loenen aan de Vecht. In the house, layers of temporality, materiality, everyday living, and lived experience mingle with design solutions and worldviews affecting them. By immersing into the materiality of the Van Eycks’ home, the paper offers a lively, intensive, and qualitative understanding of the design and its connections with the architect’s contributions to post-war architectural discourses. The experiential account uses a mix of archival, ethnographic, and performative techniques, a proposed method that adds a necessary degree of complexity to architectural history. The method enacts a new form of knowledge where our bodies inform the findings, from materiality to meaning, and connects to new architectural history approaches, namely Architectural Anthropology and Performative Design Research. With all these elements, we are proposing a rich, empirical account of the project by means of three re-enactments of the Van Eycks’ homelife: a visit to the attic, table talk under the skylight, and a lively lunch in the garden. The account offers deep insights into how architectural ideas take material form, showing that specific ways of understanding history, time, or space, are indeed embodied within our built environment and that they can only be disentangled, with the help of our bodies, by performing actions within, in and around buildings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalThe Journal of Architecture
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • embodiment
  • team 10
  • post-war architecture
  • multiculturalism


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