Kantoorgebouw Westerdoksdijk

Westerdoksdijk 40
F.J.E. Dekeukeleire

Westerdoksdijk 40

Number 40 Westerdoksdijk, the only even number here, is the only building on the waterfront. A delightful, modern office building. White with an abundance of glass. It was built in 1960 and was designed by an architect who was not well known to the general public but who enjoyed a solid reputation in professional circles: F.J.E. Dekeukeleire (1925-1985).

For many years the building housed the shipping company Reederij Goedkoop and formed part of a vibrant dock area. An area that was characterized by the yards of Westerdokseiland and Stenen Hoofd, the silos of Silodam, and warehouses and sheds in the direction of the city’s main railway station Centraal Station. The transformation of the southern IJ waterfront resulted in high-density residential development on the city side. The Goedkoop building was the only building still standing on the waterfront. When the building became vacant, creative spirits (architects, lawyers) took it over. The ground floor houses a bar and restaurant.

The public space now has the atmsphere of a boulevard. The Goedkoop building was included in the top 100 of Amsterdam’s postwar heritage, presented by the city’s monuments and archaeology department in 2008.

What is most interesting about the building is that its scheme is normally employed in much larger buildings. A wide ground floor, above which a slightly cantilevered volume, above which again is a slender tower. It is the same scheme that lends monumentality to buildings such as the Nederlandse Bank in Frederiksplein and the provincial government building in ‘s Hertogenbosch. The housing on the other side, with a double storey height at the tip, confirm what has long been obvious: the Goedkoop building is essentially the model of a building twice the size, a toy building. Herein lies its charm. (ARCAM/MK)