De Rotterdam / OMA

© Michel van de Kar

Architects: OMA
Location: Rotterdam,
Architect In Charge: Rem Koolhaas, Reinier de Graaf, Ellen van Loon, Kees van Casteren
Area: 162000.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Michel van de Kar, Charlie Koolhaas, Ossip van Duivenbode, Philippe Ruault

© Ossip van Duivenbode

From the architect. 21 November, Rotterdam – today marks the completion of De Rotterdam, a mixed-use, 160,000m2 slab-tower conceived as a ‘vertical city’ on the river Maas.

Ellen van Loon: “Efficiency has been a central design parameter from day one. 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.”

© Ossip van Duivenbode

With the building’s completion, a critical mass has been established on the Kop van Zuid, realizing the long-established vision of a second city center south of the Maas. The building is named after one of the original ships on the Holland America Line, which from 1873 to the late 1970s transported thousands of emigrating Europeans bound for New York from the Wilhelmina Pier, next to which De Rotterdam is situated.

Program Isometry

The three stacked and interconnecting towers of De Rotterdam rise 44 floors to a height of 150 meters and span a width of over 100 meters. Nevertheless, the building is exceptionally compact, with a mix of programs organized into distinct but overlapping blocks of commercial office space, residential apartments, hotel and conference facilities, restaurants and cafes. Office employees, residents and hotel guests are brought together in conference, sport and restaurant facilities. The building’s shared plinth is the location of the lobbies to each of the towers, creating a pedestrianized public hub by means of a common hall.

© Ossip van Duivenbode

Rem Koolhaas: “Despite its scale and apparent solidity, the building’s shifted blocks create a constantly changing appearance, different from every part of the city. The fact that it stands today represents a small triumph of persistence for the city, the developer, the contractor and the architects.”

© Philippe Ruault

The various phases of design and construction were supervised by partners-in-charge Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon and Reinier de Graaf, and associate-in-charge Kees van Casteren. De Rotterdam is developed by MAB Development and OVG Real Estate.

© Ossip van Duivenbode

Building Code Consultant: ABT Bouwkunde, Velp / Delft
Structural Engineer: Corsmit, Rotterdam
Structural Advisor In Sd Phase: Arup, London
Service Engineers: Techniplan, Rotterdam (offices, hotel) / Valstar Simonis, Rijswijk (apartments, plinth)
Façades: Permasteelisa, Middelburg (offices, hotel, plinth) / TGM, Asten (apartments)
Fire Safety / Building Physics: DGMR, Arnhem
Lighting Consultant Ground Floor / Atrium: Arup, Amsterdam
Scenography / Lighting Consultants Hotel: Ducks Scéno, Paris / Les Eclaireurs, Lyon
Team 1997 2001(50% Sd): Christina Beaumont, Stefan Bendiks, Frans Blok, Robert Cheoff, Bert Karel Deuten, Sharon Goren, Juan Guardetti, Jens Holm, Alex de Jong, Adam Kurdahl, Carolien Ligtenberg, Anna Little, Nuno Rosado, Saskia Simon, Johan de Wachter, Barbara Wolff
Team 2001 2008(50% Sd – Building Permit): Chantal Aquilina, Eva Dietrich, Anita Ernödi, Markus Frank, Jonah Gamblin, Clarisa Garcia-Fresco, Alex de Jong, Michel van de Kar, Christoph Michael, Elida Mosquera, Mauro Parravicini, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Raphael Pulido, Louise Sullivan, Olaf Turck, Manuel Villanueva, with: Chun Chiu, Duncan Flemington, Evangelos Kotsioris, Sören Martinussen, Nobuki Ogasahara, Theo Petrides, Benoit Schelstraete, Ian Schopa, Kyo Stockhaus, Joao Viera Costa, Luca Vigliero, Jussi Vuori, Jean-Paul Willemse
Team 2008 2013(Construction Phase / Interiors): Michel van de Kar (associate), Marlies Boterman, Christoph Michael, with: Katrien van Dijk, Nathalie Gozdziak, Sai Shu, Saskia Simon, Tomas Dirrix, Erik de Haan, Jue Qiu, Pal Trodahl
Interiors Hotel (2013): Saskia Simon, Marina Cogliani, Clive Hennessey, Yasuhito Hirose, Arminas Sadzevicius
Executive Architect: B+M, The Hague
Elevators / Escalators / Building Maintenance Units: Kone, The Hague
Mep: Roodenburg, Krimpen aan den IJssel
Contractor: Züblin, Stuttgart / Antwerp / Vlaardingen
Reception Desks Ground Floor: Smeulders, Nuenen

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "De Rotterdam / OMA" 25 Nov 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • gergana

    just stopping by to say: it’s horrible :((((

    • Bruno

      and who are you ?

  • Deano

    The stout shape just destroys the city skyline. It’s not like a European city.

  • Pedro

    Horrible. I can imagine, in 70 years, a more sensible civilization tearing it down.

  • Andrei P.

    21st century unite d´habitation

  • philippe

    quite strange, could evoque one of Mies Van Der Rohe’s buildings with something less cartesian. Maybe they should destroy the two buildings next to this one and just conserve this one …

  • alex

    I like it. It looks like Hong Kong

  • alex

    I disagree… I think its brilliant..a hymn to generic modernism

  • Rodrigo Vilas-Boas

    Urban context or urban contest?
    Fits Rotterdam like a glove!

  • 404

    Impressively stunningly awesome. I encourage this.

  • Yufan

    21st prison of workers

  • bibi

    come on, it’s architecture, it’s not meant to live in.

  • Axio

    I find this project strangely compelling. I can’t speak to whether its appropriate to Rotterdam as I haven’t spent any time there, but taken as just the building, it strikes an interesting design balance between the cost-driven mundane and the excessively unique. I’d welcome it as an addition to NYC at the very least.

  • ‘Tunji

    The Exo Skeleton and window bays remind me of the World Trade Centre. How time flies

  • kim bogun

    There must be better way to express mass composition and surface..

  • emad


  • DavidG

    One would imagine something of this mass and scale to stand out as a monstrosity on this landscape but that is not the case at all. It actually creates city. How very well done.

  • error303

    In OMAs content, Koolhaas talks about not liking mies, but loving him. This falls neatly under the “I don’t want to be interesting, I want to be good.” Although good is heavily subjective, and personally i hate this building.

  • Martin Lucas

    Just compare it to the pretentious and clumsy KPN Tower by Renzo Piano, and you understand why no city needed this project more than Rotterdam.
    This is neither a dildo nor a totem, it’s a spatial device and a place to live. It’s a generic scenery and a grid where anything is possible. It is surely an hommage to Mies and Yamasaki, but the stacking logic cuts down any potential vanity which would come from verticality.
    That is why, against most critics, I LOVE this building, even if its materials might not reach the best environmental standards.

    • bibi

      “anything is possible” in a totem or a dildo just like in a relentless orthogonal grid. vanity doesnt come out solely of verticality. you can see vanity in cantilevers & mass proximities as well. but as long as vanity makes space to live fully in, i can take it.

  • Érica Morgado

    extremely heavy. this building might work as a singular, but that’s all.