Muziek Centrum van de Omroep (MCO)
1928-1993 / E. Eibink en J.A. Snellebrand (1932), P.J. Elling en B. Merkelbach, de Architecten Cie.

Heuvellaan 33

The MCO houses the oldest radio studio in the Netherlands, which the VARA had built in 1930 to a design by architects Adolf Eibink (1893-1975) and Jan Antonie Snellebrand (1891-1963). Between 1958 and 1962, the complex was considerably expanded to a design by architects Ben Merkelbach (1901-1961) and Piet Elling (1897-1962). In the 1960s and 1990s, several new studios were added, including the current rehearsal and recording space of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (850 m2), designed by the architectural firm De Architekten Cie. The MCO complex was designated a national monument in 2002.

Modern look

In 1929, the VARA moved into a villa at 33 Heuvellaan, which soon became too small for the rapidly growing broadcaster. Architects Eibink and Snellebrand designed a new studio complex for the villa that, in addition to a large radio studio, also included a smaller studio and office space. The complex had a modern look with white, tightly plastered building parts. Only the radio studio got a double-kinked hood, covered with pans. The roof shape was dictated by the acoustics. The tower formed a pivot point between the old villa and the new studio. The viewing platform and the spiral staircase with landings are constructed from thin concrete surfaces in steel profiles.


Architects Eibink and Snellebrand were also involved in furnishing the large radio studio. At the bottom, the walls were covered with wood and cork. Above it and in the bent hood were panels that ensured optimal sound reflection. On one of the short sides was a beautiful grille with an organ behind it. The concert organ console, designed by the architects, stood in front of the wall. Above the organ was a small spectator balcony. Because time was an important factor in a studio, clocks hung everywhere, which were also designed by the architects.


The VARA studio complex was expanded several times. In the years 1958-1962, a glass entrance hall, a technical wing and various studios were added to a design by architects Ben Merkelbach and Piet Elling. The old villa was demolished during this time. The technical wing with a facade of slightly glazed brick has a striking bulge with a work of art by style artist Bart van der Leck (1876-1958). The artwork depicts broadcasting history with colored tiles and was performed posthumously in 1958. In the late 1960s, bureau Elling designed a large fan-shaped concert studio that was built at the rear.

Muziekcentrum voor de Omroep

In 1991 the VARA moved to a new complex on the other side of the Heuvellaan and later to the Mediapark. The old studio complex was taken into use by the Muziekcentrum voor de Omroep and now houses the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Groot Omroepkoor, the Metropole Orchestra and Globe, Center for Art and Culture. Many amateur companies also have their permanent rehearsal and/or concert space in the MCO. In total, the complex now has 11 studios and several smaller spaces.


E. Eibink en J.A. Snellebrand (1932), P.J. Elling en B. Merkelbach, de Architecten Cie.




Heuvellaan 33, Hilversum