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Netherlands Bank Building
Bloemfontein, Free State

DE BIE and VAN WIJNGARDEN: Architect

Date:1958
Client:Nedbank
Type:Bank
Status:Extant
Street:Maitland & East Burger Streets

 


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Coordinates:
29°07'04.33" S 26°13'24.69" E Alt: 1383m

The novelty of this building is the relocation of the banking hall to first floor level thereby freeing up access to shops at street level. The double void over the banking hall is expressed on Maitland Street thereby signifying the purpose of the building.

"Like many of its counterparts, it is positioned on a prominent corner, in this case opposite the main post office on Hoffman Square. The banking hall is uncommonly located on the first floor, reached directly by escalators encased in glass at the corner. The design begs comparison with the elegant 1954 Huf Building in Rotterdam, designed by Van den Broek & Bakema for a shoe store with a fully glazed ground floor as an invitation to enter the space. Considering that Van Wijngaarden was originally from Rotterdam and emigrated to South Africa in 1955, it is quite conceivable that the Huf commercial prototype was transferred to the bank building in Bloemfontein.32 One might speculate as to whether De Bie & Van Wijngaarden did not feel that a translucent interface on the ground floor would be a security risk for the bank, and so placed the banking hall on the first-floor, conveniently reached with a fl uid transition by way of an escalator. Like the Huf Building, the ground-fl oor is used for retail space, providing additional income for the bank, thereby merging the retail typology with the functional requirements of the bank." (Catherine Deacon & Marguerite Pienaar in Common Ground 2021:123)


Books that reference Netherlands Bank Building

Clarke, Nicholas J, Fisher, Roger C & Kuipers, Marieke C . 2021. Common Ground : Dutch-South African Architectural Exchanges 1902-1961. The Netherlands: LM Publishers. pg 123, 124 ill
Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pg 85