Former AVRO-studio
1936 / Merkelbach en Karsten

‘s-Gravelandseweg 50-52

In 1936 the AVRO studio complex on ‘s-Gravelandseweg was put into use. Architects Ben Merkelbach (1901-1961) and Charles Karsten (1904-1979) designed a modern studio building in a business expressionist architectural style. A second studio was opened in 1940 on the other side of the Melkpad. In 2000, the AVRO left the studio complex that has since been used by various organizations.

Modern broadcasting building

In 1931, the General Radio Broadcasting Association (AVRO) bought a site on the corner of ‘s Gravelandseweg, Melkpad and Hoge Naarderweg. A studio committee led by AVRO director Willem Vogt was engaged in the construction of a ‘completely new modern broadcasting building’. The commission was given to the young architects Ben Merkelbach (1901-1961) and Charles Karsten (1904-1979) who impressed the committee with their ideas developed in a short time. Vogt and the architects made several study trips abroad to view the newest and most advanced broadcasting buildings.

Expressive building

The design by the young architects Ben and Karsten consisted of several building volumes of different shapes. The facades were built in yellow brick under a flat roof with a protruding eaves. In order to spare two naves on the site, the typical recess was created on the side of the ‘s Gravelandseweg. Behind the closed wall surfaces were the studio spaces. The ‘public rooms’, such as the boardroom, the entrance hall and the coffee room, are fitted with large steel-cased glass panels, which are characteristic of the architecture of the Nieuwe Bouwen.

Form and function

The high acoustic requirements led to a fan-shaped studio. To ensure good sound insulation, any contact between the inner and outer walls had to be avoided. This resulted in a box-in-box construction with independently founded walls. Any contact between the inner and outer wall was avoided. Air heating prevented noise from heating pipes. The shape of the studio was partly determined by the organ that was placed behind the stage. The organ, which has become known as the Pierre Palla concert organ, was transferred to the Muziek Centrum voor de Omroep in 2018. It is one of the largest original theater organs in the Netherlands and one of the best preserved in Europe.


Already after a year the studio had to be expanded. On the other side of the Melkpad, Merkelbach and Karsten designed a second studio building that, because of the acoustics, was shaped like a violin sound box and also had a box-in-box construction. Studio 2 was put into use in 1940. The two buildings were connected via a tunnel under the Melkpad. Studio 2 was designated a national monument in 2002. During construction, the first studio building was expanded with a gatehouse and a restaurant with large windows on the side of the Melkpad.


Merkelbach en Karsten




's-Gravelandseweg 50-52, Hilversum