In 1976 Hubert-Jan Henket established his own architectural firm under the name Hubert-Jan Henket architecten bna. Over more than 35 years, a large group of talented designers have built up a rich, multi-faceted body of studies, plans and realisations under his inspiring leadership.
One of the first projects was the Barth Lijstenfabriek in Boxtel (1978 -1979). The factory had to have maximum adaptability, connecting with the product that was made there: interchangeable picture frames. Even the building's elevation can be changed with a simple, technical intervention. With the new-build of the White Fathers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (1979 - 1983) Hubert-Jan Henket succeeded in realising an attractive building in a hot and humid climate with an inspired building design, large overhangs and natural ventilation through orientation towards the prevailing wind direction.
The extension of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (1988 -1991) heralded the bureau's breakthrough. The transparent pavilion is a contemporary extension to the main, brick building from 1935 by architect Van der Steur. Owing to its location with a southerly orientation, the design includes a four-metre wide overhang. From the outset, focusing on sustainable and carefully-thought-out technology was an important, distinguishing hallmark of the bureau's work. The winter garden at the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden (1998 - 2000) is an example of austere but splendidly-elaborated detailing.
The bureau has designed many museums. The Singer Museum in Laren was renovated in 1994. Also in 1994, a new wing was added to the oldest museum in the Netherlands, the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, and a museum shop in 2002. The multiple commissions for the Nederlands Architectuur Instituut in Rotterdam (1988), the renovation and extension of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (2001) and the extension of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2004) were unfortunately not secured. The Religieus Museum Catharijneconvent in the centre of Utrecht was refurbished in several phases (1996 - 2006). The contrast between the age-old cloister architecture and the contemporary extensions in this project are clearly visible.
Hubert-Jan Henket has always greatly admired the architecture of the Modern Movement (Moderne Beweging). In 1988, together with Wessel de Jonge, he founded DOCOMOMO: a worldwide network for the promotion of the documentation and preservation of buildings, ensembles and landscapes of the Modern Movement. This international organisation now has offices in more than 50 countries: the secretariat is located in Barcelona. Hubert-Jan Henket is Honorary President of DOCOMOMO International: Janneke Bierman has chaired the Dutch section of DOCOMOMO since 2005.
The bureau has amassed a wealth of knowledge in the restoration and renovation of modern heritage. The Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Arnhem by Gerrit Rietveld (1958) underwent total renovation (1995 - 1997) and was later extended with an underground wing for the Faculteit voor Dans en Theater (1999 - 2004). Hubert-Jan Henket and Wessel de Jonge successfully restored Sanatorium Zonnestraal in Hilversum by architect Duiker. The restoration of the main building was completed in 2003: the Dresselhuyspaviljoen shell was restored in 2008.
Furthermore, the bureau is an authority on the work of architect and structural engineer Wiebenga (1886 - 1974): the former Sophia Ziekenhuis in Zwolle was converted into the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (1999 - 2006) and a hall in the former Sphinx factory in Maastricht was converted into a museum, offices and a restoration studio (2000 - 2006). In Zwolle, Wiebenga's Openluchtbad was restored (2009 - 2012).
Bierman Henket architecten specialises in the renovation and transformation of existing buildings and integrating contemporary programmes into a historical, urban context. The law courts of Middelburg (1992 - 1995) and Haarlem (1999 - 2005), the Museumkwartier 's-Hertogenbosch (2005 - 2013) and the new Fries museum in Leeuwarden (2002 - 2013) are good examples of this. The bureau's knowledge and experience is not only confined to the Netherlands, as demonstrated by the new-build construction of the chancellery and the renovation of the residency of the Netherlands Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand (2002 - 2007).
In recent years temporary usage and making existing buildings more sustainable are playing an ever-increasing role in the bureau's work. Owing to the present crisis in the energy and economic climates, the knowledge and skills that the bureau has developed in more than 35 years in the field of transformation and reuse, is finding ever-wider application: in the renovation of crematoria, making existing housing more sustainable and in the improvement of the indoor climate in school buildings.
In September 2005 the bureau changed its name to Bierman Henket architecten. Janneke Bierman, as architect and Director, is ultimately responsible for the bureau's work. Janneke Bierman, together with Sjoekie de Bijll Nachenius (project architect for renovation and transformation and responsible for the bureau's organisation), Yvonne Segers (project architect for new-build and interiors) and Henk van Laarhoven (project coordinator and responsible for use of materials and construction engineering) form the management team. In addition, Hubert-Jan Henket will remain involved as architect and consultant at the bureau.