Architect: Pieter L. Marnette (1888-1948)
Commissioned by: Dienst der Publieke Werken gemeente Amsterdam (Office of Public Works Municipality of Amsterdam)
Year of construction: 1921-1923.
Amsterdam expanded very rapidly between 1910 and 1930, and the tram routes had to expand quickly too. The expansion justified the building of a large headquarters at a prominent location: the beginning of the Overtoom, the oldest route in and out of the city. Marnette’s hand is visible in the building’s clear symmetrical lines and the rounded shapes of the sides.
Front of municipal tram headquarters, 1923
The Amsterdam School style reveals itself in many ways, including in the decorated front door with lanterns on either side, the central flag pole and the high vertical dividing walls between the windows. A square is created by the C shaped floor plan, showing again how Marnette included public spaces in his designs. This was also an important element of the Amsterdam School style.
Main entrance lined with lanterns
This is also applicable to the grid windows in the corner pavilions, and for the varying shapes of the windows: note the trapezium shaped windows on the third floor. The building was designed in the ‘flat’ style within the Amsterdam School architectural style. This was a sub-group which distinguished itself from the ‘plastic’ style by its clear lines which made more use of rounded shapes.
Back of municipal tram headquarters with extension on the right, 1923
The equally monumental annex to the left of the main building housed the utility areas. The former doorman’s lodge with its wood carved guttering is on the street side. On the water side were a toilet block, a bicycle shed, an electric transformer shed and a urinal.