Located on the corner of Delftsevaart and Lombardkade is the building of Van Stolk Traders. Van Stolk, a Rotterdam merchant family, was mainly active with the import of and trade in grain, seed and pulses. The design is largely the work of Willem Wissing (1920-2008), an employee of the architecture firm of Van Tijen and Maaskant and best known as an urban designer. The facade relief, which depicts the Egyptian god Isis, symbol of fertility, was made by Ian Pieters.
Rein Blijstra, the well-known architecture critic of the Het Vrije Volk newspaper, was wildly enthusiastic about the building, although he feared it was too small in scale:
It already looks diminutive compared to the tall wing of the Stadstimmerhuis on the opposite side of the water and De Nederlanden van 1845 building further on. By the way: a sign of how the scale of the centre of Rotterdam has changed, is that a four-floor office building with a front width of 17.50 metres to Delftse Vaart and of 11.25 metres to Lombardkade gives the impression of being somewhat stunted. However, we should console ourselves with the knowledge that it is beautifully stunted.
Het Vrije Volk 13-3-1953
Typically 1950s look
The composition of the building, with a tall corner and an extension, is functional. The director’s office on the corner was raised above the large office space so that the directors could keep a close eye on employees at work and communicate with them directly. Moreover, this opened up the opportunity to create a basement level for technical installations. The heavy extension on the first floor contains a big meeting room with prescribed dimensions. The main entrance and the gateway to the delivery street were located on Lombardkade. The building features a concrete skeleton, and the concrete columns and beams provide the basis for the facade composition. White-glazed brickwork, elegant steel railings and wooden frames with steel pivot windows lend the building a typically 1950s appearance.
The office building is a sunny instance of powerful lines, organised in such a way that the general office in particular is more spacious than it appears from outside, and is fitted with details (staircase and slender steps in the big office) that demonstrate an obsessive attention to the project at hand, a jewel in the crown of Rotterdam, unpretentious, not too expensive, yet sparkling as brightly as its more expensive brothers, in part because it is so superbly cut.
How illustrative it is of the seriousness of the architecture firm of Van Tijen and Maaskant that, in addition to the Groothandelsgebouw and the Industriegebouw on Goudsesingel close to here, they design such small buildings as that for Van Stolk and Batenburg with just as much care and attention as they invest in their big projects.
Het Vrije Volk 13-3-1953
Van Stolk vacated the building in 1995. The firm, with a royal warrant of appointment, celebrated its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary in 1997. For some years now the building has been occupied by De Bontekoe, maker of exclusive chocolate products. The exterior has been cheerfully renovated, and the concrete structure has been exposed inside.
- Meent, Rotterdam, Netherlands