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Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht

During the ‘Open Monument Days’ event I got a chance to get inside buildings where I would normally not get to be inside. And I felt like a kid in a candy store in some of them! I took lots of pictures! However, before I can show you all those pictures, I want to do some research on the buildings. As soon as I have one buildings story complete, I will share the story & pictures with you…

Today, I am going to share the first one of the buildings I visited during the Open Monuments event. It is SBK Art Galery 180 and listed monument RM522339 at Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht, an early twentieth-century store with showroom.

The industrialisation brought growing prosperity for everyone and gave ordinary citizens access to money. It made them consumers of mass producted items. The effects of this changing society were noticeable at Voorstraat, because a complete new concept appeared in the shape of modern shops. Previously, products were ordered straight from the skilled craftsman who made them and now, retailers started to become a link between the producers of the final product and their potential buyer. The modern consumer was born.

One of those retailers was A.J. Zwijsen. He came from Tiel in 1896 and established his shop at Voorstraat, Dordrecht. At age 24, he registered at the Chamber of Commerce as a shopkeeper in beds and mattresses. Within 5 years time things went so well for him that he could commision the architect Carel Tenenti to reconstruct two existing buildings into one. A new complex including a shop, an ultramodern warehouse and a two-story showroom with a large surface area for shop windows was completed in the summer of 1902!

Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail

The front of the building has been erected with glazed yellow bricks, with stone for details and teak and glass for the windows. The windows above the ground floor are flanked by large stone collars including whiplashes and floral motifs in relief. (Finally!) Between the collars is a wide, riveted beam as well as a thin stone frame, which originates from the stone collars.

Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail

The panels of pâte-sur-pâte glazed tiles under the windows and at the top of the facade were made by pottery Royal Delft (Joost Thooft & Labouchère).

Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail

The property has been renovated and rebuilt internally in 1993, but the essential characteristics of the building have been preserved. The loft still exists, as well as the cast iron railings and the original skylight that ensures the broad daylight entering the former showroom. Lost are the woodwork of American pine, the original, iron staircase and the office space with faceted windows, which had a direct view on the shop.

Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail

Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail

Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail

Looking at these pictures, how can you not love this beautiful building? Maybe I should find out what else Carel Tenenti designed for us? I’m sure I’m going to love that too!

Voorstraat 180, Dordrecht - detail

Ps. one more thing: When I was taking pictures inside this beautiful building, I couldn’t help noticing the art on display. After all, it was an art gallery. And isn’t it a nice coincidence that I walked right into a painting by Bas Kloens, who’s Art Nouveau house at Wolwevershaven 46 I shared with you earlier?

Painting by Bas Kloens, Dordrecht at 'Galerie 180'