Ghijsels was born in East Java, 8 September 1882. He was sent to Holland to study from elementary school until university. After finishing his elementary and hi school, he went to Polytechnic Delft in 1903. In that period architecture was part of Civil Engineering. And since 1905 architecture was separated from Civil Engineering. Study period was lengthen from 4 to 5 years. Polytechnic then change to Delf Technical High School. In 1905 Ghijzels finished his first years with his class mated that later became prominent architecture in East Indies such as Pont, Thomas Karsten and others. In 1909 Ghijzels was graduated as an architect. In 1909 he worked in Gerrit van Arkel in Amsterdam. In October 1909 he applied as an architect in Gemeente Batavia. He worked officially as Gemeente Batavia on 3 November 1910 and lived in Cikini, in the heart of Weltevreden. In 1912, Ghijsels moved to BOW which office was also located in Batavia. He got lotsa experience about development in East Indies in that period. In 1914, he designed a hospital for KPM (Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij – now PELNI) in Jatibaru, south of Weltevreden. This was one of his biggest project.
After resigned form BOW in 1916, he established his own bureau “Algemeen Ingenieurs en Architecten Bureau” (AIA) in Batavia. This bureau is a combinationbetween designing and constructing building, established with two coleagues : Ir. Hein van Essen and arsitek Stoltz. Since 1916 till 1929, for 13 years he handled various projects in various places. The projects spread to other towns in Indonesia, yet mostly in java especially in big cities such as Batavia, bandung, Yogyakarta, Semarang and Surabaya. The projects variety ranged from designing to constructing and planning city extension. This made AIA became one of most prominent development bureau in East Indies in that period. In 1929 Ghijsels returned to Holland with his family but he was still involved in AIA in East Indies until 1923. He died in Overveen, Holland in March 2 1947, when he was 64 years old.
Ghijsels motto was Simplicity is the shortest path to beauty. This shows that he was a rational modern architect. He was pioneer of architect generation shifting Indische Empire adhered in the 20th century in East Indies. His works can be divided into two categories.First is between 1920 -1915, when he worked in BOW in Batavia. The second is between 1916-1929, when he established AIA. The first buildnings were single building while the second building were complex building.But both have draft and completely symmetrical. These show neo renaissance influence which was srtong in the transition from 19th to 20th century. But then the early influence of modern architecture can be seen very strong. The image of his works are tidy, simple and there is no over shape. Useful holes for cross ventilation are visible. Later his works are more close to the situation in big cities of East Indies such as seen on his next works.
Important works of ghijsels between 1916-1929:
1. Bandung city extension (1917)
2. “Nillmij” Office (currently Bank BNI in Yogyakarta), 1921
3. Jakarta Railway Station ( 1927-1931)
4. “Internatio” Building, Surabaya (1927-1931)
5. “Onder de Bogen” Hospital (Currently Panti Rapih – Yogyakarta) in 1929
6. “Des Indes” Hotel main building at Jl. Gajahmada, Jakarta, (1928-1930) in 1972 was destroyed, and many more.
Most of Ghijsels works are big Dutch company offices opened branches in East Indies in that period, such as KPM branch (currently PELNI) in Ujung Pandang, Jambi, Balikpapan etc. Office of Gep Wehru on Ujungpandang, padang, Cirebon and etc. Symmetrical is the characteristic of his works, as the designs were mostly offices, hospital and other formal building. Yet the adaptation to climate, and the function of the building and technology were concerned. AIA led by him became prominent between 1920-1950. It was very rare that a bureau also handled the construction process.
Ghijsels used modern architecture style. In his carrier he did not use traditional architecture. His works between 1910-1915:
1. Telephone Office in Jalan Garuda Surabaya (1913-1914)
2. KPM Hospital (currently PELNI) Jl. AIP II, KS Tubun 92, Petamburan, Jatibaru, Jakarta, in 1914