- About Dudok
- Architecture by Dudok
- Architecture Hilversum
- About DAC
Foto: Iwan Baan
In 1925, the municipality of Hilversum commissioned director of Public Works Willem Marinus Dudok (1884-1974) to submit a plan for a new cemetery that year. The enormous population growth that the municipality experienced in the 1920s not only demanded more space to live, work and learn, but also to be able to bury. In the years that followed, several plans were reviewed, but a final design was finally reached in 1929. Dudok designed a geometrically ordered cemetery on the north side of Hilversum, at the time adjacent to the Westerheide but now surrounded by a post-war residential area. The associated building complex, also designed by Dudok, consisting of a service residence, a service wing and an auditorium building, was designated a national monument in 1991.
‘In contrast to most cemeteries, which are usually laid out in a so-called landscape style, with winding paths and with the accidental beauty of beautiful plantings here and there, this cemetery is projected strictly and extremely orderly’, says Dudok in his explanation of the design of the Northern Cemetery. Around an open midfield, he grouped the cemeteries into small units that were enclosed by hedge plants. This gave a funeral an intimate character or, in the architect’s words, “one feels outside, but still: as in a room, the walls of which are the trees and the roof is heaven”. To the south of the cemetery, a rectangular water feature was created as an offshoot of the water storage designed as a Berla pond.
On the west side of the cemetery, Dudok designed the auditorium building, a staff house and a bicycle shed with staff rooms. The buildings were given steel windows and doors, flat roofs and smooth-plastered facades. It was the first time that Dudok applied this combination of materials and design in his architecture. He may have been inspired by the Zonnestraal sanatorium, which was completed in 1928, and which had the same external characteristics. The elongated one-storey auditorium, the two staggered cubist volumes of the staff house and the high brick-built chimney, are unmistakably a design by the Hilversum architect.
The auditorium screens the cemetery from the street and, together with the former caretaker’s house, forms the moody backdrop for an impressive weeping willow. The façades of the auditorium building on the street side are high and closed, while the beautiful vertical glass sections on the other side provide a view of the cemetery. A subtle black and white border has been applied under the eaves. The monumental gate gives access to the sleek cemetery, where a serene tranquility reigns. Here you will also find the tomb of Dudok and his wife, which was designed by the architect himself (section XIII).
Laan 1940 – 1945 nr. 2, Hilversum