"The basic structure is the bearer of the entire complex, as it were. It is the main construction, it comprises the duct system and coincides with the principal “traffic routes” inside the complex. The basic structure manifests itself in two ways, notably as a continuous structure (spine), and with regular interruptions along the periphery of the complex in the form of small towers (c.f. the vertebrae).
The interpretable zones are geared to performing all foreseeable functions, wich make specific demands on the space and which therefor give rise to divergent “complementary” solutions. It is the interpretable zone that can be filled in with the primary ingredients of the different component parts. The basic structure and the interpretable zone in its entirety thus awaits complementary filling in, while remaining essentially the same: the building as a whole derives its identity from the
complex of different interpretations."
— Herman Hertzberger, Centraal Beheer Office Building, “Making Space, Living Space”, Lessons for Students in Architecture, 1991
"A building that co-dates the finishing of the FU -the Insurance Building at Appeldoom- is, in its form, an off-shoot of the mat-building phenomenon (to deal with the off-shoot first, and perhaps therefore with “casbahism” as a formative influence from the immediate past). Appeldoom’s architect, by using his own particular inheritance -the Children’s House… the Schroeder roof- utilised a heavily loaded language to produce what can best be described as Giant’s Causeway architecture… but you have to enter with special protective-visual-clothing, and to want to see it as part of the new phenomenon of mat-building."
— SMITHSON, Alison: “How to recognise and read mat-building: mainstream architecture as it has developed towards the mat-building”,Architectural Design 9 (1974)
"It is clear from these statements that Hertzberger believes in the second type of solution to the superblock, the solution that interprets the building as a small town. The designer should not try to establish patterns or particular formal hierarchies but should concentrate on providing the “possibility” of behaviour that is self-motivated."
— Alan Colquhoun, “Centraal Beheer”, Essays in Architectural Criticism, MIT Press 1981