A large number of new projects in Rotterdam’s Laurenskwartier and the Waterstad contribute to the current revival of the historic city of Rotterdam. A new series of buildings for living and working is added to the reconstruction architecture of the 1950’s to make the centre lively and attractive again.
“The location of Blaak 31 on one of Rotterdam’s inner city boulevards and at the corner next the Blaak metro and train station is a striking and historically significant position in the city centre where it lacked urban intimacy. The design therefore provides a lively street profile with public functions. At the same time it gives a spatial limit to the area,” says Han van den Born, partner of KCAP.
On this important site the 12 story building shows a striking form, distinctive and recognizable. The volumes are slightly rotated relative to each other and shift 2.70 meters every three floors. This form is partly determined by the distance to the Market Hall with the aim of allowing maximum light and privacy for both buildings. In addition, the underground metro line affects the massing of the building.
The interior has an open structure with large flexible office floors combined with atriums and waterfall stairs to enable communication, interaction and encourage an informal working atmosphere.On the ground and first floor one finds the more public type of office functions. A modern and transparent library and auditorium adjacent to the street are connected by a monumentally elegantly curved staircase to the restaurant and meeting center on the first floor. The predominately natural materials are used in a contemporary way of design. The materialisation supports a personal, quiet and transparent working environment on the office floors. Three different types of stairs of which one is inspired on M.C. Esscher’s work connect the floors in the most optimal way.
The façade, with its h orizontal lines of glass and natural stone, emphasises the shape of the building and allows good daylighting inside the offices and generous views to the street activities outside. “This openness is also perceived from the outside. Not only is the spectacular steel structure visible from the outside, but also the life and work within the building,” continues Han van den Born.
The building has been realized within the maximum available construction time of 21 months. With the use of sustainable materials and techniques the building reaches a GreenCalc+ score of over 200 points.
KCAP Architects&Planners, www.kcap.eu
KCAP Architects&Planners is an internationally operating design firm specialised in architecture and urbanism. KCAP maintains offices in Rotterdam (NL) and Zurich (CH). KCAP is led by four partners: Han van den Born, Kees Christiaanse, Ruurd Gietema and Irma van Oort, and two directors: Markus Appenzeller and Ute Schneider.
Since its founding in 1989 by Kees Christiaanse, KCAP has grown to be one of the leading offices for architecture and urban planning in Europe and Asia.
Fokkema & Partners Architecten, www.fokkema-partners.nl
Fokkema & Partners Architecten was founded in 1995 by Diederik Fokkema. Today the firm consists 35 employees and 3 associate partners: Diederik Fokkema, Laura Atsma and Marieke van Schaaijk.
The projects assigned to Fokkema & Partners vary in size from 100 m2 to 80.000 m2 and from private clients to public and private companies. About 70% of these assignments concern interior designs, the remaining 30% being exterior projects. Besides private residence and super yachts, the main field of interest includes general offices, health care and education. Over the years, the office has gained a lot of experience in designing innovative office environments and renovating older office buildings.