HOUSING AND SHOPS
J. WILS, 1938-1941, Schiedamse Vest 2-40, Rotterdam
Jan Wils, who was based in The Hague, realized this housing block with ground-floor shops shortly before the bombing raid of May 1940. The building abutted Dudok's original Bijenkorf to which it is related stylistically. Half of the Bijenkorf was destroyed in the war, the remainder being demolished in 1957 once the new Bijenkorf was in place. This opened up a view from the centre of the harbour, the 'window on the river', at the same time giving the housing block a lower profile on Schiedamse Vest. A similar block of flats was built next to it in the 1950s. With the arrival of a new housing block on the corner of Churchillplein in 1980 set square to the two existing blocks, the original alignment of the Coolvest moat, the predecessor of Coolsingel, has been airbrushed out of the cityscape altogether.