The Pannekoekstraat is scarcely a street, but it is starting to become a little livelier. Röder & Verbeek's machinery business now occupies a brand-new building, built in ten months by H.J. de Jong and Sons. That brings to an end the ‘exile’ of this very old firm, now in the hands of Mr A.M. van Toor. In 1940 it was bombed out of its premises on Hang and relocated to a small space on Kettingstraat, and in 1948 it moved again to Eendrachtsstraat. On Pannekoekstraat the firm finally has a space of its own again. The ground floor is given over to offices, a showroom and a workshop, while above are six dwellings.
Het Vrije Volk 12-1-1953
The reconstruction of Rotterdam is always presented as innovative and modern, as a shining example of modern urban design and functional architecture. Even so, the city might have turned out very differently. In his reconstruction plan, city architect Witteveen may have wanted to solve all sorts of practical problems, mostly related to traffic, but in terms of architecture he thought of traditional solutions: facades of brickwork, windows divided into small panes, decorative elements and pitched roofs. For most streets he envisaged redevelopment in piecemeal fashion, building by building. During the war numerous architects sketched the street walls of a ‘paper city’ that would never he realised.
The reconstruction of Rotterdam is always presented as innovative and modern, as a shining example of modern urban design and functional architecture.
The first built results of the reconstruction, such as the Rotterdamsche Bank on Coolsingel, the telephone office on Botersloot and the development on Oude Binnenweg, were therefore designed in the traditionalist style. Moreover, the bank buildings on Blaak are grandly monumental. When in 1944 Witteveen was replaced by Cornelis van Traa, his successor revised the Reconstruction Plan. In the revised Basic Plan the picturesque urbanism of Witteveen made way for a functional approach.
In the revised Basic Plan the picturesque urbanism of Witteveen made way for a functional approach.
Authentic example of Witteveen
Pannekoekstraat is also the location of an authentic example of Witteveen reconstruction. It is a double building with retail space on the ground floor. This first construction project on Pannekoekstraat was an initiative by Koos de Jong, a well-known builder and competitive sailor, who won a bronze medal at the 1948 Olympic Games. The first pile went into the ground on 22 February 1952. The building contained two shops, two commercial spaces and six dwellings above. The old-fashioned style with stepped gables was unenthusiastically received in an article in the magazine Rotterdam Bouwt, which expressed contentment that the rest of the street was not developed in such an archaic style.
The old-fashioned style with stepped gables was unenthusiastically received in an article in the magazine Rotterdam Bouwt, which expressed contentment that the rest of the street was not developed in such an archaic style.
In 2014 the building became a designated municipal monument on account of its unique design by the Rotterdam architecture firm Meischke and Schmidt. The office of Jan Meischke (1889-1966) and Peter Schmidt had been active since 1917, especially in Rotterdam. Its well-known works include the Prinsekerk in Blijdorp, the Academy of Visual Arts and Technical Sciences on G.J. de Jonghweg, and housing in Spangen. After the war Meischke devoted most of his time to the restoration of Laurenskerk.
Connoisseurs alone will recognise the deviating gables in the street wall. The structure is now a designated municipal monument.