Architects: Maxwan Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands Partner in Charge: Rients Dijkstra Team Leader: Martijn Anhalt Project Team: Artur Borejszo, Jason Hilgefort, Nara Lee, Nobuki Ogasahara, Michiel Raats, Harm te Velde Client: Crimson / Estrade Projecten, Blauwhoed Project Development and dS+V Site Area: 15 ha Project Area: 10,000 sqm Images: Courtesy of Maxwan
The Oud-Charlois neighborhood is located next to the largest man-made harbor basin in the world: the Waalhaven. Separating them is a wide road, a dike, some rail tracks, a road, a strip of industrial sheds, and a road again. After passing these, you end up at a narrow green strip, in between the backyards of Oud-Charlois and a landscape with simple, introverted workshops. Within this strip, you forget about the harbor, unable to see or feel any of its activities.
This is a proposal to reinvigorate this strip. This sliver of green is freed up to become something more: the Charlois Free Zone.
Charlois Free Zone claims the strip as a free haven for initiatives from both the neighborhood and harbor. Initiatives are allowed if they have a public character.
For some of the strongly to the harbor related companies, a key factor in choosing a building location is visibility towards the citizens of Rotterdam: their (future) clients, business partners, and the population from which they recruit their workforce.
The Charlois Free Zone is undoubtedly an ideal location for companies like this. A building constructed on the strip between Oud Charlois and the harbor can stretch across the dike and rail lines towards the Waalhaven, and to the Charlois community on the other side.
“Skill Building” does just that: it connects to the harbor and to the people of Charlois and Rotterdam. It taps into the logistics on the portside of the dike with easy access to train, trucks, and ships. Therefore the production hall is elevated above the site and truly bridges over the surrounding infrastructure. The offices of the company are facing towards the neighborhood and slice through the production hall. Because of this, some of the offices look into the hall. Imagine a sales department, which is able to show the customer the state-of-the-art machinery and their skilled workers without having to leave the office.
According to the guidelines of the Free Zone, the building is connected to communal structures in the park, where, for instance, companys gym is located. Because of its distinctive shape, the building is a statement for the company and for the new dynamic relationship of Charlois and Europes largest port.