Mart Stam 1899 - 1986
Martinus Adrianus Stam was born in Purmerend, The Netherlands, on 5 August 1899 to a tax collector and his wife. He attended a local school in Purmurend, before training in Amsterdam at the Royal School for Advanced Studies for two years between 1917 and 1919. In 1919, Stam began working as a draftsman with an architectural firm in Rotterdam. He boldly stated between his qualification and first career that "We have to change the world." 

In 1920, Stam was imprisoned for refusing to serve in the military, something which was compulsory in the Netherlands at that time. Those who refused to conscribe were imprisoned for the time period of which the service would take place. Fortunately, Stam was released in 1922, and later that year, created what has been said to be his first major achievement - in 1922, through a contest, he was appointed to draw up urban infrastructure plans for the The Hague region. This was a standard plan in many senses, but the main striking feature, was that the majority of the roads, particularly in coastal areas, ran perpendicular to the beach. It is still not known why Stam chose to design them in that way.
  By the end of 1922, Stam had moved to Berlin, where he began to develop his style as a New Objectivity architect. In the 3 year period he successfully worked in two major agencies – Bureau Granpré Molière and To Van der Mey. This work would benefit him greatly through his later years. 

In Zurich in 1923 he co-founded the magazine ABC Beitrage zum Bauen (Contributions on Building) with architect Hans Schmidt, future Bauhaus director the Swiss architect Hannes Meyer, and El Lissitzky. 

After moving to Berlin, Stam devised a steel-tubing cantilever chair, using lengths of standard gas pipe and standard pipe joint fittings. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe became aware of Stam's work on the chair during planning for the Weissenhof Siedlung and mentioned it to Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus. This led almost immediately to variations on the cantilevered tubular-steel chair theme by both Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer, and began an entire genre of chair design. 

In the late 1920s, Breuer and Stam were involved in a patent lawsuit in German courts, both claiming to be the inventor of the basic cantilever chair design principle. Stam won the lawsuit.
  Stam contributed a house to the 1927 Weissenhof Estate, the permanent housing project developed and presented by the exhibition Die Wohnung ("The Dwelling"), organized by the Deutscher Werkbund in Stuttgart. This put him in the company of Le Corbusier, Peter Behrens, Bruno Taut, Hans Poelzig, and Walter Gropius, and the exhibition had as many as 20,000 visitors a day. In 1927 he became a founding member, with Gerrit Rietveld and Hendrik Petrus Berlage, of the Congrès Internationaux d`Architecture Moderne (CIAM). 

Stam was later named director of the Institute of Industrial Art in the Netherlands. From 1948 to 1952 he moved to postwar Germany, with its major reconstruction projects. In 1948 he took a professorship at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Dresden and began advocating a modern, strict structure for the heavily destroyed urban landscape, a plan which most of the citizens rejected as an "all-out attack on the identity of the city", and which would have obliterated most of the remaining landmarks. In 1950 Stam became director of the Advanced Institute of Art in Berlin. Returning to Amsterdam in 1953, Stam and his wife moved to Switzerland in about 1966 and withdrew from public view. He died, aged 86, in Zürich.


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