Architects: Personal Architecture
Location: Overblaak 56, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Architect In Charge: Maarten Polkamp, Sander van Schaik
Design Team: Leendert van Grinsven, Wiepkjen Kingma, Froukje van de Klundert
Area: 1,200 sqm
Photographs: René de Wit
Construction Design: IMd raadgevende ingenieurs
Contractor: Hijbeko, Capelle aan de IJssel
Interior: Nelison, Berkel en Roderijs
From the architect. After thirty years of vacancy the Supercube, being part of Piet Bloms world famous cubecomplex in Rotterdam, gets its first real destination. Under the guidance of the Exodus foundation the Cube is inhabited by 20 delinquents in the final stage of their detention.
Since its completion in 1982 the Supercube has been mostly vacant, some parts of the building weren’t even fully completed. According to the architects, Sander van Schaik and Maarten Polkamp, this is explicable: ‘the building was dark, it warmed up quickly and there was no relation whatsoever between the floors’. Not the ideal circumstances for the new function either, where transparancy, social control and facilitating encounters between its inhabitants are vital conditions for the succes of re-integration.
The discontinuity between floors, the tedious vertical progress and the dark, inconvenient middle floor are considered the three problematic issues in the original building. To carry out the proposed program, a twenty-room residence complex, these issues are tackled by means of a single intervention. To this end, a rectangular shaft is inserted into the heart of the building, creating a void of 3×3 meters throughout the entire height.
The void raises the transparency and coherence of the building and adds a great deal of sunlight from the tip to the underlying levels. In addition, the element plays a part in thermally regulating the building; the ‘chimney effect’ created by the new shaft, means cool air from the underlying floors rises up and cools the warmer tip of the cube. Several functions such as reception, pantry, laundry / bathrooms, storage and kitchen are located inside the shaft wall. Furthermore, this ‘service wall’ supports the stairs that wind up through the floors.
With the realisation of the nearby Stayokay Hostel in another part of the cube complex, Personal Architecture already upgraded a part of the iconic and world famous cube complex. Placing this new function within a thight community like the cubecomplex was a dearing entrerprise but it is expected that the Exodus foundation and its inhabitants will have a positive influence on the atmosphere of the total complex and that the social control and supervision will increase. Cooperations between the Exodus foundation, the inhabitants of the regular dwellings, volounteers and the companies in the surroundings are gradually taking shape.