Have you ever wanted to go to the park but had a highway or rail yard in your way? Ever feel like the best parts of your city are disconnected? Do what Rotterdam- and New York–based designers Zones Urbaines Sensibles (ZUS) did. They wanted to connect parts of Rotterdam, so they took matters into their own hands and put together a crowdfunding initiative to connect a series of three districts through public infrastructure. Luchtsingel, a 1300-foot-long bridge received support from some 5,000 people and finally opened last week. The saga started in 2011 when the city cancelled the development of an office building in Rotterdam Central District. ZUS took over what is known as the Schieblock, and turned it into a city laboratory. The space acts as an incubator for young entrepreneurs and includes a ground-floor store, bar, culinary workshop, information center, and the Dakakker, Europe’s first urban farming roof. When the Delftsehof nightlife area and two parks opened, Pompenburg Park, and the Hofplein Station Roof Park, the districts needed to be connected. As part of the 2012 Architecture Biënnale Rotterdam (IABR), co-curated by ZUS, the area was named “Test Site Rotterdam,” and included 18 interventions connected by the Luchtsingel. The crowd-funding project “I Make Rotterdam” sold over 8,000 boards inscribed with the names of those who donated, for just €25 each. Not all 18 proposals were but the Luchtsingel has now happened. The project is a unifying factor in the resurgence of Rotterdam as a sustainable and pedestrian-friendly urban area, and uses “the city's evolutionary character and existing forms as a starting point. Therefore, we have developed new instruments for design, financing, and planning" to make "a new three-dimensional cityscape," according to ZUS founders Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman.
Posts tagged with "Rotterdam":
Last September, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat invited me to serve as the special media correspondent for its Shanghai symposium, entitled Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism. I conducted video interviews with dozens of architects, developers, building managers, and others on topics relevant to tall building design and sustainable urbanism. Among the many designers, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed were Jos Melchers of MAB Development & OMA partner Ellen van Loon. We discussed the design of De Rotterdam, an innovative mixed-use development that won CTBUH's 2014 Best Tall Building award for Europe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OygY60WSibU De Rotterdam's design resembles several skyscrapers stacked closely together, with bridges and protrusions in the facade connecting them into a single, flowing mass. "What you do in a low-rise city, where buildings are very close to each other with different functions, is now basically translated into a high-rise building," said van Loon. "I think what is interesting for me about this building is that tenants see each other on different heights... so not only the physical connections, but the view connections create a community in that building." Van Loon said it was a challenge to temper the community-building aspect of the building's connections with their potential to create confusion in the program or an overwhelming presence on the skyline. The result was the largest building in the Netherlands, but one that developer Jos Melchers said still respects the site. Getting tenants on board was another challenge at first, he said, but now the unusual layout is "becoming part of the city." "You feel that you can make a really mixed-use, multifunctional building," Melchers said. "The tenant has to believe in the concept of a vertical city. Of course tenants want to have their own block, their own building."
When the plan for Markthal Rotterdam first appeared, it seemed like one of those interesting, but never going to actually happen type of projects. There was no way that MVRDV’s sprawling food hall set underneath a 130-foot-tall arching roof that itself contains 228 apartments would ever be realized. Well, it turns out there was a way, and Rotterdam figured it out. This week, the Netherland’s Queen Máxima opened the market, which is expected to attract between 4.5 and 7 million visitors every year. The interior space is defined by a nearly 12,000-square-foot mural called “Cornucopia” that, as you may have guessed, shows produce and the like. “In order to achieve the required sharpness, the image was rendered by Pixar software,” explained Rotterdam Partners in a statement. “It was printed onto perforated aluminum panels, then attached to acoustic panels for noise control. The print resolution of the art work is comparable to a glossy magazine.” That mural is bookended by massive, arching-glazed cable net facades that create the effect of transparency throughout the structure. To contrast with the market's colorful interior, MVRDV used grey natural stone to clad the structure and define the surrounding public space.
Considering how much trash Baltimore's solar-powered Trash Interceptor scoops out of the city's harbor—50,000 pounds a day!—these floating islands made from found plastic waste might just stand a chance. With the support of the Creative Industries Firm NL, WHIM Architecture is developing a prototype of their project, the recycled island, built primarily from recycled plastic waste gathered from the North Pacific gyre and the North Sea. The prototype seeks to first try out the concept at a small scale by building a floating house surrounded by plants. This “floating villa” will test the durability and practicality of plastic as a building material and be the test that determines whether the recycled island idea is plausible. There are four chief aspects of the prototype island: the platform, the balustrade, the roof, and the external wall. According to information provided by WHIM, the platform will be composed of hollow plastic blocks covered with vegetation while the balustrade will be made of hollow plastic blocks filled with soil to support the aforementioned vegetation. Both the roof and the walls will be made of blocks filled with non-recyclable waste. While the designers are currently working on a prototype island of a smaller size, the actual recycled island would be approximately the size of Hawaii’s main island. This rather sizeable floating island will sit on the Maas River in Rotterdam and act as a station to collect waste before it empties out into the North Sea. The repurposing of plastic waste would then give the litter new economic value and may encourage people to hold onto their trash rather than improperly throw it away. Therefore the recycled island may help combat pollution and waste problems on two fronts: one by collecting waste and building with it and another by discouraging people from littering.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the nonprofit arbiter on tall building design, has named its 2014 picks for best tall buildings. Among the winners are a twisting tower in Dubai, Portland's greenest retrofit, and a veritable jungle of a high-rise. The four regional winners are: The Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, Portland, USA (Americas); One Central Park, Sydney, Australia (Asia & Australia); De Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands (Europe); and Cayan Tower, Dubai, UAE (Middle East & Africa). Portland’s Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building is not a new building. Designed by SOM in 1974, the office tower used a pre-cast concrete façade that had begun to fail by the turn of the 21st century. Bainbridge Island, Washington-based Cutler Anderson Architects and local firm SERA modernized the 18-story, 512,474 square-foot structure that is now targeting LEED Platinum. One Central Park in Sydney uses hydroponics and heliostats to cultivate gardens and green walls throughout the tower, cooling the building and creating the world's tallest vertical garden. OMA’s De Rotterdam is the largest building in the Netherlands, and its form playfully morphs the glassy midcentury office high-rise in a way that’s part homage and part experimental deconstruction. In the Middle East, Dubai’s twisting Cayan Tower (formerly The Infinity Tower) is a 75-story luxury apartment building that turns 90 degrees over its 997-foot ascent. Remarked the CTBUH panel: “happening upon its dancing form in the skyline is like encountering a hula-hooper on a train full of gray flannel suits.” CTBUH will pick an overall “Best Tall Building Worldwide” winner at their 13th Annual Awards on November 6, at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Their panel of judges includes Jeanne Gang, OMA’s David Gianotten, Laing O’Rourke’s David Scott, and Sir Terry Farrell, among others. OMA’s CCTV Tower in Beijing won last year’s competition. Most of the 88 contest entries were from Asia, CTBUH said, continuing that continent’s dominance of global supertall building construction. CTBUH's international conference will take place in Shanghai in September. You can find more about the 2014 CTBUH awards, including a full list of finalists, at their website.
A folly in a Rotterdam suburb draws on residents' complex relationship with the city.The residents of Carnisselande, a garden suburb in Barendrecht, the Netherlands, have a curious relationship with Rotterdam. Many of them work in the city, or are otherwise mentally and emotionally connected to it, yet they go home at night to a place that is physically and visually separate. When NEXT architects was tapped to build a folly on a hill in the new town, they seized on this apparent contradiction. “This suburb is completely hidden behind sound barriers, highways, totally disconnected from Rotterdam,” said NEXT director Marijn Schenk. “We discovered when you’re on top of the hill and jump, you can see Rotterdam. We said, ‘Can we make the jump into an art piece?’” NEXT designed The Elastic Perspective, a staircase based on the Möbius strip. “The idea of the impossible stair [is] you’re not able to continue your trip. At first it seems to be a continuous route, but once you’re up there, the path is flipping over,” explained Schenk. “That’s a reference to the feeling of the people living there.” To catch a glimpse of Rotterdam, users must turn their backs on Carnisselande. Yet while the view is in one sense the destination, the staircase ends where it started, in the reality of the garden suburb. NEXT began by experimenting with strips of paper and thin sheets of steel to form the staircase’s basic shape. The architects then turned to AutoCad, where they finalized the design before 3D printing a 1:200 scale model. NEXT worked with engineers at ABT throughout the process. They relied heavily on 3D design software, Schenk said, “because all the steel was sort of double-curved.” Mannen van Staal fabricated the staircase from seven steel panels custom-cut with a CNC machine, said project architect Joost Lemmens. They bent the plates, largely by hand, and assembled the entire structure in their factory, temporarily welding the pieces together. They then disassembled the structure for transport to the site, where the components were re-welded by hand and using a vacuum-cleaner-sized robot. Cor-ten was a practical choice on the one hand because the rust obscures the stitches used to reconnect the seven panels. In addition, said Schenk, “It’s weatherproof, and sustainable in the sense that we’re not using a toxic coating.” The choice of Cor-ten also holds aesthetic and cultural meaning. The orange of the staircase contrasts with the green of the hill. Plus, “it’s a material quite often used in artworks, so of course it refers to the work of Richard Serra [and others],” said Schenk. “I think in short what it’s about is the idea of making a jump, make people be able to make a jump to see the skyline of the city,” he concluded. “We’re using the Möbius strip to express the ambiguity of the people living there: feeling connected to Rotterdam but being somewhere else.”
Dutch firm MVRDV has won a competition to design a new public/private art depot for the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. While the design has been selected, the fate of the project remains in the balance. City council officials have until the end of the year to decide whether or not to go ahead with construction. The winning design (top) resembles a large shiny flowerpot, a cylindrical glass volume that tapers at the bottom and is capped by a sculpture-park. The curved facade's distortion of the surrounding landscape recalls the way Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate engages its own Chicago context. The need for the project stems from problems with the museum's current depot, which is situated below sea-level and thus at risk of flooding. Beyond elevating the stored artworks to safety, the new design is also an opportunity to make some of them available for public view. A route will zig-zag through the various floors to offer glimpses of the depot for those visiting the space. The path culminates in the rooftop park which also would feature a restaurant. MVRDV beat out other finalists MAD/Nio, Neutelings Riedijk, Koen van Velzen and Harry Gugger with Barcode Architects, though not without controversy. At one point the firm was disqualified due to what was deemed a breach of the tender procedure. They were later reinstated after winning their case in the court of justice of Rotterdam.
Since 2011, skateboarders from all over Europe have flocked to a large concrete slab in OMA’s Museum Park in the city center of Rotterdam as a local spot for tricks and meetups. Nicknamed “Rem’s Flag,” the spot is painted with a massive 492-foot version of the EU Barcode, a multi-colored barcode design by architect Rem Koolhaas, conceived as an equal display of the flags of the European Union. Various objects have been “barcoded” with the Koolhaas flag. The most recent is a set of 80 limited edition skateboard decks, a collaboration between surf-inspired skateboard brand Dufarge and AMO, an OMA think tank, in honor of the Rem’s Flag skating experience. For skaters at Museum Park, the EU Barcode at Rem’s Flag is a challenge: only the best can land their tricks on its straight lines. Working with Generator, a Southern California–based custom skateboard company, Dufarge and OMA scaled the barcode to screenprint on each hand-numbered deck. Taking care to match the country-representative colors exactly, the high quality boards honor Koolhaas’ design and the OMA urban space that has become iconic in the skateboarding world.
After less than four years under construction, the massive De Rotterdam towers, OMA’s grand experiment in urban density and scale, were completed a few weeks ago. With over 1,700,000 square feet of floor space, Rem Koolhaas’ glass-clad “vertical city” is the largest multifunctional building in the Netherlands. Within a 6-story, 100-foot-tall plinth, and three, 44-story, 500-foot-tall towers, Rem Koolhaas has crammed over 600,000 square feet of office space, 16,000 square feet of hospitality space, a 260-room, four-star hotel, 240 luxury apartments and leisure facilities, a 670-space parking garage, and conference, event, and retail facilities for a total of 7,588 individual “spaces.” 5,000 people are expected to be within the building on any given day once residents begin to move in early next year, making it the most densely populated piece of land in the country. While that all may sound overwhelming, the architects have sorted De Rotterdam’s multifaceted program into compact, functional blocks within the building’s mass to provide both order and dynamism, with parking at the bottom, public programs atop that, residences relegated to one tower, offices in the next, and more offices and the hotel in the third tower. The building's diverse users come together in the conference rooms, recreational spaces, and restaurants, as well as the grand ground-floor atrium. Spanning the width of the building, the travertine-clad great hall greets office workers, hotel guests, visitors and residents with 30-foot high ceilings and natural stone flooring. The material oppulance continues across the project, with reception areas and elevator lobbies clad in brass and floor to ceiling windows on every floor. But as the architects at OMA argue, it was not their bold aspirations or "Fountainheaded" hubris that has guided this project, but the needs of their home-city, Rotterdam. “This is not simply an ambitious architectural project, it is also part of a necessity," said Koolhaas at the building’s opening. “We need to emphasize how much urban activity is injected in this place at this moment.” "Efficiency has been a central design parameter from day one,” said OMA-partner Ellen Van Loon in a statement. “The extreme market forces at play throughout the course of the project, far from being a design constraint, have in fact reinforced our original concept. The result is a dense, vibrant building for the city."
On October 16 thieves nabbed a handful of valuable paintings, including works by Picasso, Matisse, and Monet, from the Kunsthal gallery in Rotterdam. At least one person points the finger at the architecture by home team OMA. Citing an interview with Dutch security expert Ton Cremers, Dezeen.com reports that the open plan and glass walls are a nightmare for guards. Cremers appreciates the design aesthetic of the museum, which was completed in 1992, but noted, “It’s an awful building to protect.”
Mapping Disasters. In and around New York City, we were fortunate Tropical Storm Irene created little more than flooding, fallen trees, and electric outages, and that last week's tremors left no damage in the city. If these rare northeast natural disasters are getting you down, perhaps it's time to consider moving to the safest place in the U.S. to avoid natural disasters? A NY Times infographic hasfound just the place: Corvallis, OR. Cities in Oregon and Washington state top the list, while areas in Texas and Arkansas have the highest risk of earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, and tornadoes. Standing up to Earthquakes. Many of the east coast's 19th century masonry buildings are not built to withstand a strong earthquake. How do those California skyscrapers withstand the west coast's dangerous, powerful tremors? Gizmodo featured an array of earthquake-tech such as tuned mass dampers and roller bearings allow tall buildings to move with the earthquake and absorb shock. Melancholy Utopia. The end of summer and beginning of fall will bring a flood of design events in European cities. Among them, more than forty designers will descend on Rotterdam on September 3rd to showcase their work throughout the city. The theme is Melanchotopia, an examination of the connections between melancholy and utopia, mourning and hope, said e-flux.
We've noted recently the preponderance of architectural documentaries, particularly those concerns the fields "greats"—from Gehry to Mockbee, Kahn to Shulman. Well, now you can add Rem Koolhaas to the list, as Archinect points us to this trailer for a new documentary in the works entitled Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect. The film got a nice little write-up in—where else—the Seattle Times, which explains that the documentary is as much about Koolhaas' arrival at architecture as the architecture itself. Though that often seems to be the case, especially with Rem. How else could such a famous architect declare: "One of the exciting things about architecture is it gives you so many reasons to be modest. Because there are so many levels on which you can fail." But at least we get all those cool visuals produced by OMA and AMO of buildings melding and morphing, as though there were a firm better suited to the big screen. After all, he's a multimedia star, having already conquered music and typography.