1935 - Williem Marinus Dudok (1884-1974)

Town Hall, Hilversum

Designer: Dudok, Willem Marinus (1884-1974)
Copyright: Jan Derwig/RIBA Library Photographs Collection (c1994)

The Dutch architect, Williem Dudok, was the son of Johannes Dudok, a well-known violin player. Dudok initially chose a military a career and went to the army training school in Alkmaar in 1900. He continued his training at the Royal Military Academy in Breda and became a regular officer. In this capacity he worked at the construction of the Fortress of Amsterdam and learned how to work with concrete.


Dudok became more and more interested in architecture and changed to a civilian career in 1913 when he became director of the Department of Public Works in Leiden. In 1915, he became the Director of Public Works in Hilversum and immediately was asked to plan the new town hall. This is considered his most significant work and was completed in 1931, although he designed up to 75 other buildings within the town. The town hall is built of nearly 700,000 custom-made brocks, an alternative material to the modernists using concrete, steel and glass.


Egelantierstraat school, Hilversum

Designer: Dudok, Willem Marinus (1884-1974)
Copyright: RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1927)

Other major works include the Rembrandt School in Hilversum (1920) and the department store, De Bijenkorkf in Rotterdam (1930).


Heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, Dudok also allied himself with the Amsterdam expressionist school, although his work tended to rationalise and straighten the excesses of the more eccentric forms.


Dudok is named as the architect of many buildings in Turkey, Germany, Iraq and France as well as in the Netherlands, and it is thought that his career total exceed 400 structures.