Broekbakema has its roots in the firm established around 1910 in Rotterdam by architect Michiel Brinkman. He became famous largely through his ground-breaking design for Spangen residential complex in Rotterdam (1922).
At the time of Brinkman’s death, his son Jan Brinkman was still at Delft University of Technology, studying Civil Engineering. This is why (at the intercession of Kees van der Leeuw, Van Nelle industrialist) Brinkman associated with architect Leen van der Vlugt. With Brinkman as the mastermind and Van der Vlugt as gifted designer, the firm flourished. It was during this period that the famous Van Nelle factory and Feyenoord Stadion were built.
After Van der Vlugt died in 1936, Johannes Hendrik van den Broek took over his position in the firm. At the time, Van den Broek had already worked as an independent architect for ten years and had established a reputation with progressive residential housing projects like those on the Mathenesserlaan and the Vroesenlaan in Rotterdam. Together with Jan Brinkman he realized a substantial number of projects in Rotterdam, including Blijdorp.
When Brinkman died in 1949, Van den Broek joined forces with Jaap Bakema. Once again, having a new board member gave the firm decisive new momentum. In this period, Architectenbureau Van den Broek en Bakema – as the firm was renamed in 1951 – gained great fame with its designs for the Lijnbaan in Rotterdam, the auditorium of Delft University of Technology and the Pampus plan. In 1971 Hans Boot, Jan de Groot, Joop Rijnsdorp and Jan Stokla joined the management board. Soon after, Wim van der Jagt replaced Jan Stokla who quitted the firm because of health problems. The firm changed its name to Architectengemeenschap Van den Broek en Bakema. Van den Broek died in 1978 and Bakema in 1981.
In 1988 Meindert Booij, Jan van Iersel and Henk Verbij formed a new management board and changed the name back to Architectenbureau Van den Broek en Bakema. Main projects in the ensuing period were the KLM Operation Control Center, the Phytopathology Service in Wageningen and the master plan for Organon in Oss. After gaining experience as project architect for the KLM OCC, Erik van Eck became a board member in 2002. Since joining the firm he has done a number of projects, such as the well-known Kropman in Utrecht.
In 2005 the firm merged with SAAS architecten, famous for their design for Almere that won first prize in 1999 at the Europan 5 competition and the Loungin’ temporary exhibition pavilion in Rotterdam. Aldo Vos and Siebold Nijenhuis joined the board and the new name became Broekbakema. Since february 2010 Roger Tan has joined Broekbakema as business director.