The Architecture faculty’s curriculum stated emphatically that the new degree programme had an entirely individual character. This characterisation may have reflected many architects’ lack of affinity with this new field, but even more so, it was consistent with the rigorously independent approach that Van der Grinten and his new staff managed to develop.

The curriculum of the Architecture faculty

The ideas for the degree programme steered clear of debates on modern architecture and were in keeping with the analytical approach taken by technical engineers, with their knowledge of production techniques and qualities relating to product use.

“The new degree programme had an entirely individual character”

Van der Grinten found design practitioners to staff the new degree programme, notably with different approaches and contrasting views. From 1964, the designer Emile Truijen played an important role in developing the teaching on design. Truijen had been introduced to commercial design practice in the United States, and in 1954 he had been one of the first to set up a design agency in the Netherlands (with Rob Parry). In 1965, Van der Grinten also invited the leading graphic designer Wim Crouwel, who had already developed his analytical approach at his design agency, Total Design. The first full-time professor was the mechanical engineer Bernd Schierbeek, who had previously been head of product development at the international manufacturer of weighing scales and cutting machines, Van Berkel.

On 7 February 1969, the Institute of Technology received ministerial approval for the new degree programme in Industrial Design. In the following years the first graduates came through, most of them having been supervised by Bernd Schierbeek.

Presentation of designs by Emile Truijen to the Executive Board. Tables designed by Joost van der Grinten, c. 1969

Bernd Schierbeek at his desk on the Oude Delft, second half of the 1970s