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Rotterdam

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City Hall Rotterdam

In 1909, enterprising and ambitious lord mayor A.R. Zimmerman encourages Rotterdam city council to commission a new town hall on the Coolvest. With the construction of the town hall and state-built main post office alongside it, this former city canal will be drained, and be transformed into a stylish urban boulevard.

In 1910, Evers is commissioned to create a preliminary design; at this stage, no decision is taken about a possible follow-up, whether or not the plans are submitted in response to a competition. In 1912, the council decides to hold a closed competition, inviting architects to come up with a plan based on the floor plans of the preliminary design. The competition inspires proposals from J. Stuijt, W. Kromhout, C.B. van der Tak, K.P.C. de Bazel, M. Brinkman, the architect duo A. Otten-W.F. Overeijnder and Evers himself. At the suggestion of the executive committee, and when the jury is unable to decide between the plans submitted by Stuijn and Evers, on 5 June 1913, the city council decides to opt for Evers’ design, with the motto ‘S.P.Q.R.’. The competition causes a commotion. Why wasn’t H.P. Berlage, the most prominent architect of the day, not invited to take part? And why was Evers’ project chosen, rather than the compelling designs of De Bazel or Kromhout? The construction proves problematic for Evers, confronting him with organisational issues and, from 1914 onwards, he is forced to supervise the project in conjunction with the local authority architect A.J.Th. Kok.

The first pile goes into the ground on 12-8-1914, although building work is delayed, partly because of difficulties in sourcing materials as a result of the First World War. The city council holds its first meeting in the building on 1-9-1920; however, the building will never be officially opened. The entire interior, from the furnishings to the lighting and timepieces and the decorative scheme for the building, is also designed by Evers.

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