Architect: Pieter L. Marnette (1888-1948)
Commissioned by: Dienst der Publieke Werken gemeente Amsterdam (Office of Public Works Municipality of Amsterdam)
Year of construction: 1924.
In the 1920s, the municipality gained more influence over the streets of Amsterdam. Good architects such as Marnette were attached to the Office of Public Works, and they designed all the public buildings in the city in the style of the Amsterdam School. As all architects in this movement, Marnette had his own style. His work is characterised by the symmetry of the buildings and the curved façades with a number of typical Amsterdam School style elements.
Bureau Verkeerswezen (traffic control)
Above the building’s granite plinth, the façade turns into brick. Two large flag poles grace both sides of the top of the building. Noticeable is the toothed upper edge with pointed features at the corner. The centre column on the ground floor is the sergeant’s lodge, prominently placed between the two entrances with richly carved double doors. The characteristic grid windows on the first and second floors follow the concave wings of the building.
Detail of door and guardhouse
Curves are commonly found on the façades of the buildings of the Amsterdam School architects – much to the despair of the bricklayers whose challenge was to lay bricks in this awkward shape, and the glass fitters who had to supply the glass for the curved windows. The Amsterdam School style was an expressionist movement: shape was more important than construction. That is why the buildings were first built in concrete which provided the frame for the façade. This also meant that whatever was done to the façade would not affect the actual construction.
Men in front of the Bureau Verkeerswezen, 1931