Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 13
Jan Wils
NV Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van het City Theater te 's Gravenhage
Tram 1-2-5-6-7-10-20; bus 142-145-170-171-172-197 A. Eibink, 'Beschouwing naar aanleiding van de bezichtiging van het City-Theater', Bouwkundig Weekblad Architectura, nr. 15 (11 april 1936), p.174-5; Jan Wils, 'Het City-Theater te Amsterdam', Bouwkundig Weekblad Architectura, nr. 15 (11 april 1936), p.165-73.

Cinema on Leidseplein

The City-Theater was built near Leidseplein, in an area where there were already various places of entertainment, including the Stadsschouwburg (municipal theatre). The new theatre’s function fitted in well with this, because the client wanted first and foremost a traditional playhouse in which films could also be shown.

Although he carried out this wish, Wils did not agree. In 1936 he wrote: ‘According to insiders, cinematography is only in its infancy. When it develops it will gain autonomy, and only then will there be a basis for a pure architectural representation of the cinema’. Wils was not satisfied with the architectural result and the critics of the day thought that, out of necessity, construction had taken place too quickly and too half-heartedly. However, the technical tours de force Wils had shown in the City-Theater did win him acclaim. In November 1934, Wils received the commission and in October 1935 the building was opened by the minister of trade, industry and shipping. In that period, a block of houses had been demolished and the design produced, after which the reinforced concrete floors were poured, a steel frame was erected, walls were constructed and the interior finished. For heating and ventilation, a complex system of channels was constructed. Wils placed the longitudinal axis of the cinema on the first floor in the diagonal of the building site, so that as many seats as possible had a good view of the screen. The foyer was on the ground floor, while the service spaces and a bicycle storage facility for 200 bicycles was situated in the basement. In addition, Wils also had to accommodate an orchestra pit, a stage, dressing rooms and other facilities for theatre and operetta in his design. (ARCAM/DH)