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Photo: Dudok Architectuur Centrum
In 1909 the archiepiscopal training college from Utrecht moved into new premises at 79 Oude Amersfoortseweg in Hilversum. The school complex with chapel and outbuilding was designed by architect H. Nieuwenhuijsen in a Transitional style characteristic of the construction period. From the 1970s, the school and chapel were used by the Evangelische Omroep as office space and later also as a studio. The complex was designated a municipal monument in 2008.
The archiepiscopal training college had started in Utrecht in 1897 and needed new accommodation around 1907. Archbishop Msgr. H. van de Wetering, who had been a pastor in Hilversum, bought a site between the still largely undeveloped Oude Amersfoortseweg in Hilversum and the railway lines to Utrecht and Amersfoort. The diocese received financial support from the St. Ludgerus Association in Hilversum. Architect H. Nieuwenhuijsen designed the extensive building in the style of monasteries and seminaries. The complex not only contained classrooms, but also served as a boarding school for students and teachers. All students were required to stay internally. As a Catholic architect, Nieuwenhuijsen also designed homes in Hilversum for the St. Joseph People’s Housing Association, founded in 1912, and a number of Catholic schools.
The school originally had an L-shaped plan, against which a simple chapel was built. Significant rebuilding took place in 1921-1922 when the school was extended with a huge wing on the west side and a low wing on the north side. The training college now consisted of a huge school complex, which had been arranged around a courtyard. On that occasion, the chapel was also expanded and converted into a cruciform chapel. The sober-looking moldings were built in light brown brick and finished with a decorative brick (block tooth) frieze. The windows were provided with a segmental arch with a stone keystone. The semicircular entrance was located in the high, slightly protruding (rising) middle part in a portico with natural stone round arch. The chapel received stained glass windows by artist Lodewijk Schelfhout (1881-1943).
In 1972 it was expected that the training college would close within a few years. According to a government report from the late 1960s, efforts should be made to reduce the number of nursery schools in the Netherlands. Part of the building was leased to the Evangelische Omroep (EO) as office space. The last students graduated from the training college in 1985, after which the EO took the entire building into use and bought it in 1990 from the diocese of Utrecht. Kraaijvanger-Urbis architects converted the training college into an office building. In these years the original frames were replaced by plastic frames.
Although there were soon plans to install their own TV and radio studios in the building, these were not implemented. In 1999 there was a space for small-scale TV recordings and spaces for editing rooms for digital TV and radio programs. In 2014-2016, the former training college and chapel were thoroughly renovated under the direction of Studio Zebra architects. A television studio has now been built in the chapel, from which the broadcaster provides broadcasts. The school building has been adapted with references to both the media function and the former Roman Catholic training college function. Constructive interventions ensured more openness and transparency.
Oude Amersfoortseweg 79-85, Hilversum