aan de Amstel (NH): St. Urbanus (J.Th.J. Cuypers, 1889-1891)
Although Jos. Cuypers
designed his first work, a house in Amsterdam, in 1884, and he had
cooperated with his father for several years, it lasted until 1889
before he designed the first church under his own name.
This St. Urbanus is a three-aisled cruciform basilica. The traves of
the side-aisles each have a gable to allow for larger windows than
otherwise would have been possible. The windows in the clerestorey are
smaller. At the front northern side-aisle ends with a polygonal
baptistry. As could be expected, and probably even was expected from
the architect, the design owed much to the work of P.J.H.
Cuypers, Jos.' famous father. Its neo-Gothic style resembles
much of that of Cuypers Sr. work at that time, although Jos. Cuypers
might have been partly responsible for that style himself. But instead
of just taking elements of his father's work and combining them, Jos.
added a few new elements of his own. The square crossing-tower
immediately comes to mind, which reminds of that of the St. Augustinus
in Nijmegen (1884-1886, destroyed 1944). But unlike previous towers
here the spire rests on a low octagonal element instead of directly on
the square tower.
A second reference to P.J.H. Cuypers' work are the triplet-windows of
the front and the transept. Cuypers Sr. used similar windows often in
the 1860's and -70's. After this church they fequently returned in the
churches of the Cuypers-office. The closure of the choir features
another combination of windows that P.J.H. Cuypers had previously used,
like at the St.
Catharina in Eindhoven, being two narrow lancet-windows with
a circular window above them. Cuypers Sr. hadn't used this combination
for a long time, but Jos. later uses them again for his St. Bavo cathedral in Haarlem.
Like many of P.J.H. Cuypers' churches a horizontal accent is provided
with the use of lines of differently coloured bricks in the walls. In
the interior bricks of different colours were also used, one of the
first times this was done in The Netherlands. Another important element
of the interior is the location of the singers-tribune, which is
positioned between transept and choir, instead of the much more usual
position in the western part of the church. Pictures of the interior
can be seen on the next page.
Many other details show that Jos. Cuypers had not yet developed a style
of his own. It would take another several years before he did. After
the St. Urbanus he gradually added more elements of his own in his
designs, while continuing to use elements from his father's work for