Heemstede / Aalsmeer


1969 / 1977

1969 / 1977 – Van Lent Garage & Car Showroom

In the sixties, Cees Dam realised designs that exude a greater architectural pretension, in which he is searching for his own mature style, in doing so clearly focusing on illustrious predecessors, such as Le Corbusier and Carlo Scarpa. The influence of Le Corbusier is recognisable in the office section of the Van Lent garage in Heemstede of 1969 (picture 1): the sealed round forms executed in untreated concrete rest on ‘pilotis’. The whole forms a sculptural pivot between the existing garage and the new showroom, a light steel structure glazed on all sides. Before it are two free-standing, independent space frame structures on slender posts, one marking the petrol pumps, the other to draw extra attention to special offers on show in the open air.

The Van Lent car showroom (picture 2, 3) is situated right in the middle of the glasshouse region of Aalsmeer. With its length at right angles to the road, the showroom was designed as a free-standing building with one side on the water, where its concrete basement, serving as foundation, is left exposed. The plan combines basic geometric shapes: squares and circles. The loadbearing structure consists of six steel columns in the form of square shafts, together defining two squares of twelve by twelve metres. The surrounding facades of tinted glass assume the shape of two interlocking circles. The distance between the vertical glazing bars was so chosen as to achieve a circle of considerable accuracy. To drive the cars into the building from the street side, several sections of glass, recognisable from the thicker glazing bars, may be slid aside. The roof is borne aloft by a grid work of lattice girders, visible inside at the inscribed squares as a lowered ceiling. In the centre of the circles are two roof lights of six by six metres, ensuring an even distribution of daylight. Located at the point where the circles intersect is the entrance. Originally located inside along this intersection were two round volumes, one containing a toilet, the other serving as reception desk.