Overtoom 557
Overtoomse Sluis
J.B. Ingwersen
De Geus & Ingwersen
Pon Automobielen
Tram 1
Robert Mens, Bart Lootsma en Jos Bosman, Le Corbusier en Nederland, Utrecht 1985.
Commercieel, Wonen

Residential building with retail space

At the end of the fifties, J.B. Ingwersen entered the employment of the architectural firm C. de Geus. The Autopon building was the first design he made for that firm. The client was Pon Automobielen, the Dutch importer of Volkswagen cars.

The design by Ingwersen is based on Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation. Elements such as the visible concrete frame, the central access system, the organization of the facade, the use of the roof, the colours and the columns on which the building stands, are all derived from this historic example.

Autopon was a car showroom, where the suspended show window in particular, in which there was a brand-new Volkswagen car, attracted attention. But this is not the only connection between the building and the car, the symbol of progress in the sixties. The scale of the building and the organization of the facades are designed to be seen from a distance and at a certain speed: aimed at the motorist. Even the building’s floor plan is adapted to the car. With the construction of Autopon, the right-angled corner between Overtoom and Amstelveenseweg was modified into a flowing, gentle curve. A good traffic flow was achieved by placing the building outside the old building line. The scale of the building makes it a landmark. It connects the old city with the districts in Nieuw-West, which were developed about the same time as this building. (ARCAM/JEA)