The Bijenkorf department store by architect W.M.Dudok was perhaps the finest twentieth-century building in the Netherlands but, tragically, it has been shining for only a decade.
The building, which opened in 1930, was severely damaged by the 1940 bombing of the city. The part that survived the bombs was patched up and has been in use until it was demolished in 1960.
Even older inhabitants of Rotterdam find it hard to tell where exactly the old Bijenkorf was located. The reason is in the significant changes in the street layout after the war. The city's main boulevard Coolsingel now bends to the left rather than to the right and Westblaak, another major thoroughfare, didn't even exist before the war.
These pictures put an end to that confusion. Dudok's masterpiece is back on its original site, surrounded by modern buildings like the Coolse Poort, Robeco and the Maritime Museum. Like a ghost appearance, the Bijenkorf is standing there, blocking traffic on both Coolsingel and Westblaak.
Another image shows where this legendary piece of heritage could be reconstructed without dramatically frustrating the flow of traffic: on Kruisplein, opposite the new Central Station, at the site of the Bouwcentrum / Weenapoint and the adjacent white office block that no one will mourn about.
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DUDOK'S BIJENKORF, ROTTERDAM
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