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Coolsingel

Rotterdam

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General Post Office Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s general post office opened in 1923, reinforcing the position of Coolsingel road as the heart of the city. In a previously poor area known for its slum dwellings and prostitution, in just a few decades a new town hall, a post office, a stock exchange and head offices of retail chains, banks and insurance companies were built. In terms of scale and allure, these new buildings reflected the explosive growth of the port activities and the population.

At the centre of the post office is the main hall with the counters serving the public. The design of the hall gives a touch of solidity and style to the activities taking place here. The counters are integrated into the walls and richly decorated with natural stone, glazing, sculptures and wrought ironwork. The depictions in the decorations obviously refer to postal services, telegraphy and telephony. A light-coloured, parabolic dome with a revolutionary concrete rafter construction rises up from a dark plinth. Filtered daylight enters through the top part of the dome, which is fitted with  glass.

It is clear from the painstaking design of this hall that Bremer regarded the post office as more than just a purely functional building. The post and telegraph office symbolises a developing city. Rotterdam’s changing community and the contacts the city had with the rest of the world are made manifest through an expressive architecture.

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