Willem Marinus Dudok

06-07-1884 - 06-04-1974

Willem Marinus Dudok (1884-1974) is architect and urban planner. He realises numerous projects in Hilversum: another 75 designs besides the famous Raadhuis. Dudok was heterogeneous in his inspirations, and his work betrays such disparate influences as H.P. Berlage, Frank Lloyd Wright, De Stijl and the Amsterdam School. 

Dudok is trained at the Military Academy in Breda. After his transfer to the Engineers Division in Amsterdam, he is charged with renovating existing buildings, and with the construction of forts such as De Beemster. These projects may very well have helped to reinforce his knowledge of mechanics and concrete construction. Dudok spent his evenings exploring the aesthetic side of architecture, producing sketches and designs for private homes and barracks paying homage to his shining example, architect H.P. Berlage.

Dudok finds too little satisfaction in his military career. In 1913, he joints the department of public works in Leiden as engineer and interim director. During this time, he works with J.J.P. Oud on the following projects: the building for the Leids Daglad (1916-1917) and a complex of working class dwellings in Leiderdorp. In 1915 he becomes director of public works in Hilversum and, until 1954, is responsible for shaping the city’s architectural design. Dudok designs two dozen residential neighbourhoods, nineteen schools, bridges, urban planning designs and numerous municipality amenities including a sports park, a cemetery and public baths.

Hilversum town hall (1924-1931) is the imposing apex of Dudok’s architectural output. In his first month in office, Dudok delivers a conventional design although his final version features a well-considered, asymmetrical grouping of horizontal and vertical cubic building volumes. He also designs the interior: the tile walls, the floors, the furnishings and even objects such as the lord mayor’s chairman’s hammer.

Besides his function with the Hilversum Public Works Department, Dudok also pursues a private practice. In Paris, he designs the Dutch Pavilion (1927-1938) and the 'Gardenhouse and Lighthouse Cinemas' (1936-1938), a leisure centre with two cinemas and a hotel in Calcutta, British India.

In Rotterdam, Dudok designs two imposing edifices for the Coolsingel: the Erasmushuis/HBU of 1939 and the Bijenkorf department store of 1930. The Bijenkorf was partly destroyed during the bombing of the second world war; the remaining portion was demolished to make room for the new ‘basisplan’. When the new building for the Bijenkorf by Breuer reaches completion in 1957, the remainder of Dudok’s design is torn down. Plans for a third Dudok building on the Dudok evaporate; the design Dudok submits for a contest to build a Stock Exchange (1926-1929) is beaten in the second round by J.F. Staal.

After the second world war, Dudok works on the plan to design greater 's-Gravenhage (1949) and builds the headquarters for Hoogovens (1947-1951) in Velsen among other things. Dudok dies at the age of 89 in 1974.


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