The Unknown Side of Dudok

Two years ago I made the Bijenkorf triptych , as a homage to a legendary building with a tragic history: the old Bijenkorf department store in Rotterdam by architect W.M. Dudok. Maybe the most beautiful building that was constructed in the Netherlands in the twentieth century, but after only ten years, it was largely destroyed by German bombs. The part that survived the bombing was patched up and served twenty years as a department store and as storage but was finally demolished in 1960.

The documentary City of Light by Peter Veenendaal tells the complete story about this lost architectural gem:

Full speed through the carpet hall

Today there is nothing left on that location that reminds of the former Bijenkorf. Because the street map was radically changed after the war, these days we find here Coolsingel, Westblaak and Churchillplein. I regularly cycle right through the women’s fashion department and the carpet hall but I think few of my fellow cyclists realize that fact. The wish to transform that alienating feeling into something beautiful resulted in the Bijenkorf triptych.

View of the east facade

A friend of mine asked me to add a fourth item to the trilogy, which shows Dudok’s creation as seen from his former apartment on the 22th floor of the Schieland tower. In this picture the little-known east facade of the building becomes visible, which unlike the the north and west façade was facingn a narrow street. Despite this less prominent position Dudok really did his best on this facade ad well, because it also has the characteristic stepped volumes, protruding planes and subtly styled windows.

Right below, also the sculpture by Hendrik van den Eijnde is visible. That’s the only thing that’s left of the old Bijenkorf; hopefully it will one day return to its original location. But that’s another story.

Apple pie

On this image there’s also a good view of both roof terraces: on the left side the terrace for the staff and to the front of the building the tearoom terrace. How I wish I could have coffee with a Dudok apple pie there, overlooking Coolsingel.

(Dudok apple pie is not directly related to the architect Dudok but to the restaurant which was named after him)

The Old Bijenkorf department store, as seen from the Schieland tower

The other three

Since this fourth installment was made in commission, it will always remain a unique piece, only to be seen by a limited audience. That does not apply to the original three sections; those can be viewed, and possibly ordered, 24 hours a day, in my online gallery.

The triptych with the lost Bijenkorf department store by architect W.M. Dudok in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as canvas prints on a wall
The Bijenkorf Triptych

Dudok’s Bijenkorf
Dudok’s Bijenkorf by night
Dudok’s Bijenkorf reconstructed

Frans Blok

My work explores the border regions of photography, painting and computer visuals. With my company 3Develop I do work in commission but I use the same techniques, skills and software to make free work. I am originally an architect and I live in Rotterdam; for that reason the architecture of that city is a major (but not the only) source of inspiration. But also travel to countries like Iceland and Britain, or walks in the Netherlands, provide much material. Seeing and showing quality and beauty, that is what my work is about.

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2 Responses

  1. 19. June 2022

    […] you’ve been reading my blog (for example, take the article on the old Bijenkorf or windmill De Noord) you know that I’m really interested in the history and architecture of […]

  2. 19. June 2022

    […] the exhibition is the architecture and history of Rotterdam; on display are the three images of the old Bijenkorf bij architect Dudok, the panorama of Schouwburgplein and a series of digital paintings showing […]

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