- About Dudok
- Architecture by Dudok
- Architecture Hilversum
- About DAC
Photo: Iwan Baan
The Hilversum Town Hall is the pinnacle in the oeuvre of Willem Marinus Dudok (1884-1974). After taking office in 1915 as director of Public Works of the municipality of Hilversum, Dudok started making plans for a new town hall almost immediately, but construction of the final design was not started until 1928. Dudok designed a sculptural building consisting of cubist volumes and horizontal facade lines with a 48 meter high tower as the culmination point. In 1931 the town hall was put into use. The town hall was designated a national monument in 1985.
Although the concept of a medieval town hall is reflected in the building due to the grouping of the building volumes around two courtyards and the use of a clock tower, Dudok evoked a completely different feeling with his design: he made each facade asymmetrical, impressive and exciting. by making the different masses jump. He was inspired by style features from early 20th century architecture, but he applied them in such a unique, inimitable way that his design transcended the prevailing ‘fashion’ at the time. His fusion of the abstraction of New Objectivity and the decoration of Expressionism (better known in our country as the Amsterdam School) was widely admired.
By using a combination of concrete and steel for the supporting structure, Dudok was able to make the eaves and the yellow bricks from which the building is built defy the laws of gravity in various places by making them suggestively ‘floating’. Incidentally, Dudok had bricks of a different, more elongated format developed especially for the Town Hall. In combination with the oblique shadow joints between the bricks, this subtly reinforces the horizontal lines in the facades.
While the Town Hall looks colossal on the outside and has a strict, almost militaristic appearance, the inside is more intimate and colorful in nature. The atmosphere in each room is carefully tailored to the function for which it was designed, from the use of materials to furnishings, upholstery, decorations, lettering, door and window fittings. This makes the Town Hall a so-called ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’: the hand of the architect can be found in every detail, so that you experience it as a whole.
In the period 1989-1995 the Town Hall underwent a major restoration. The original bricks, which were in very bad condition, have largely been replaced by new ones. In the interior, the authentic furniture has been restored as much as possible and all the original colors have been restored. The restoration was carried out under the direction of Van Hoogevest Architecten from Amersfoort and was awarded the Europa Nostra Award.
Dudokpark 1, Hilversum