There’s nothing more exciting for an architect than to shape the form of his own city with a new building. And that’s what Rem Koolhaas is about to do in Rotterdam with a large scale mixed use building. Also, a project developed for The Hague, also in the Netherlands, will start construction as of next year. Site visits will be closer to the central OMA headquarters this time.
First, we’ve got a 120.000m2 (30.000m2 for retail, 70.000m2 for office, residential, culture and leisure) mixed use building in the Rotterdam’s shopping district, the Coolsingel. This district is actually the true centre of Rotterdam, where the most important streets in Rotterdam merge (Coolsingel, Lijbaan, Binnenweg and Beurstraverse).
This design doesn’t compete for height, but aims to change the identity of the city centre by inserting the pure form of a cube into existing buildings. Voids within the cube introduce configurations that bring daylight into the cube whilst providing views to the surroundings.
The open space of the site is a courtyard surrounded by architectural monuments including the building of financial institution, ABN-AMRO, an impressive bank building that was the first to be erected in the city center after World War II.
The base of the cube will consist of 5 floors of retail space and within these floors connections are made to the streets of Lijnbaan, Binnenwegplein, Coolsingel, Beurstraverse, with the potential to connect to an existing underground station. Parking for both residents and offices will be situated below the retail floors.
Public program such as restaurants, exhibition and media spaces are located in the middle and top floors of the cube. From these floors the public will overlook the entire Rotterdam area. The biggest challenge of attracting the public to travel upwards within the building is resolved through the use of slanted public elevators that stop at selected few floors.
Energy-efficient concepts play an integral role in the development of the design with close collaboration with energy consultant to optimize the daylight condition and energy use inside the building.
This building is scheduled to begin construction in 2011, opening in 2013.
But that’s not the only news. On their press release for the Coolsingel project i also noticed that the Koningin Julianaplein towers at The Hague – pictured above – enter construction phase next year. This is a mixed development including shops, housing and offices, totalling 100,000 m2, is to be inserted in the transition area between the station and the greenbelt with the appearance of the existing office development above the station to be maintained where possible.
This project shows once again how OMA has twisted the traditional concept of high rise building. The result is a dynamic building, which extends in three directions and reaches a considerable height before it becomes an enclosed development. An inner court will be created between the actual station hall and the park, in which major thoroughfares will promote pedestrian movement. These passages, which will be approximately sixty meters high, will frame the various views of the city.
Both projects are lead by Floris Alkemade and Rem Koolhaas.
All images OMA