Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Dutch Modernism: Willem Marinus Dudok

Today, a few works of an architect whose name is seldom mentioned outside his home country, the Netherlands.

Willem Marinus Dudok was born on 6 July 1884, in Amsterdam. In 1905 he began his military service with the Engineering Regiment in Utrecht as a Second Lieutenant and later served in Amsterdam supervising the fortification works. In 1913 he retired from the Army and was appointed municipal works manager of Leiden. There he designed a neighborhood for industrial workers (together with J.J.P. Oud) and a school building (today Bonaventura College):

In 1915, Dudok moved to Hilversum to accept the post of public works manager. He designed schools, apartment houses and public buildings like this police station:

Photo by Richard K-NL @ Flickr

Dudok's style gradually changed. His early works grew out of the Amsterdam School but by the time he became city architect of Hilversum (1928) he was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Chicago Prairie School as well as by the latest trends in Germany and France. This influence is clear in his design of Hilversum Raadhuis (City Hall), completed in 1931:

Photo by jan 1968 @ Flickr

Not only did he design the building, but also the interior including the carpets, furniture and even the mayor's meeting hammer and silver clock:

Photo by jan 1968 @ Flickr

Dudok continued to produce modernist structures in Hilversum for decades. He designed new schools:

Through the 1960s, the architect created a number of impressive buildings outside Hilversum:

Insurance company, Arnhem

HAV Bank, Schiedam (jan 1968)

Witte Dorp (White Village, today Tuindorp), a neighborhood for Philips workers in Eindhoven

City Theatre in Utrecht

Insurance company building (today Cafe Dudok) in Rotterdam

Collège Néerlandais in the Cité Universitaire, Paris

Dudok gained international influence. He received the RIBA Gold Medal in 1935 and the AIA Gold Medal in 1955. He designed buildings far from home - a cultural centre in Baghdad, a cinema in Calcutta...

But one of his most important creation ceased to exist long ago.

Look at this aerial photograph to get the idea of 1930s Modernism, opposed to historic styles. The building is the Bijenkorf department store. Its interiors were spacious, with laconic decor:

This rationalist temple of Commerce was "crowned" by a massive lantern and Art Deco ornament. About two thirds of the building and its historic neighbors were destroyed by the Luftwaffe bombers on May 14, 1940. The remaining part, used as a warehouse, was demolished in 1960.

Jan Sluijter (his Flickr set is a must for everyone who's interested in Dudok heritage) tried to imagine how Rotterdam would look today with Bijenkorf:

... and more than this, he performed a fusion of past and present:

Sources: Wiki (NL, EN)

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Comment by Pilsner Panther on March 31, 2011 at 11:43pm
The interior "light court" of the Bijenkorf Department Store is very similar to the light court of Frank Lloyd Wright's Larkin Building— the influence is obvious. Sadly, that masterpiece was also destroyed, but not by German bombers, it was the boneheaded city government of Buffalo, N.Y. that allowed it to be torn down.
Comment by lord_k on March 31, 2011 at 5:13am
My pleasure, Dreddhead!
Comment by Dreddhead on March 31, 2011 at 4:57am
I would like to use the opportunity to thank you for your very enlightening articles!
Comment by Andrew V. No on March 30, 2011 at 5:59pm
This is the divine harmony. My sincere congratulations.

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