Recently, Shell has left its former building at Hofplein in Rotterdam. Apart from a few minor tenants, the building is now vacant. Due to their experience with the nearby Schieblock, planning office ZUS has been commissioned to find new (temporary) users for the iconic building.
This week I gave a workshop at the thirteenth floor of the building, from where one has a spectacular view over central Rotterdam.
View over the BInnenrotte and Blaak. On the forefront, a monument marking the position of the old Delft Gate.
View over Weena and Hofplein
View over a social housing area near the train tunnel entrance – sometimes called ‘Legoland’
Last Saturday, the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam organized a rooftop screening on the top of a building at Delftseplein, inspired on roof sessions in New York. A hilarious B-movie by Larry Cohen was screened: Q, the winged serpent (1982), in which an ancient flying monster lays eggs in the top of the Chrysler building.
For the time of the year, however, it was still extremely cold. Rocket shaped wood burners were installed on the roof and red blankets and glühwein were provided during the film.
Last weekend, during the Motel Mozaïque festival, Archi-guides gave tours over the rooftops of Rotterdam. Three groups started their tours simultaneously from Schouwburgplein. Our guide took us to the roof of a partially empty office building at Kruiskade, a rooftop kindergarden in the main shopping area and the top of the Kruisplein dwellings. At night, the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam organized a rooftop screening at Delftseplein.
View over stripped office tower at the Coolsingel
View over the Lijnbaan shopping area and apartment blocks – a modernist monument, designed in the 1950′s by Van den Broek and Bakema
View over the Kop van Zuid – an port reuse project. Under construction, the Rotterdam Building, designed by OMA.
View over the old West of Rotterdam, with at the horizon the Erasmus medical center and Euromast.
Eye contact with another group of rooftop visitors
Who hasn’t been to the Calypso site, in central Rotterdam, in the last 4 years, is in for a change. The modern dance palace and restaurant from the 50′s was demolished, together with the neighboring Paulus Church. In it’s place, the new Calypso has arisen, a massive block, fit for Rotterdam in scale, but with a somewhat strange facade, designed by the office of Will Alsop. The transformation of Calypso was part of the Rotterdam Central Station project.
In earlier days, the spot was well known for the restaurant Calypso & Felice, the jazz sessions and the Roller Disco. The building next door, the Paulus church, has also been demolished and rebuilt. It continues to organize indoor sleeping facilities for the homeless.
Rotterdam appears three times in the Dutch Top 10 of reuse of historic buildings, made by the Dutch Heritage Platform. The city is especially known for its industrial and modern heritage, which dominates the list. There are in total 7 industrial complexes on the list, 2 churches and 1 hotel. The RDM campus, a technical school in an old shipyard, makes the top of the list.
RDM wharf – launch of the ‘Rotterdam’ ocean liner
The Top 10:
1. RDM campus, Rotterdam
2. Strijp-S, Eindhoven
3. Lichttoren, Eindhoven
4. Boekhandel Selexyz in Dominicanen Kerk, Maastricht
5. Hotel New York, Rotterdam
6. Van Nellefabriek, Rotterdam
7. Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam
8. Villa Augustus, Dordrecht
9. St. Gertrudis van Nijvelkerk, Heerle
10. Verkadefabriek, Den Bosch
Rotterdam has other examples of interesting reuse of modern heritage that didn’t make it to the list, such as the Calypso (recently demolished) and the Maas Silo complex (now Creative Factory).