The Baankwartier is a small corner of Rotterdam city centre that seems to be a little overlooked. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The Cool neighbourhood, of which the Baankwartier is part, has been designated as part of the high-rise city. In the place where the relics of the reconstruction determine the streetscape, the skyline of Rotterdam will be enhanced with the Cooltoren. The tower is so much more than apartments stacked up to the maximum construction height. It connects the various heights in its environment, on a large and small scale. The ‘Rotterdam layer’ and the frequently used construction height of around 70 metres are therefore very decisive, and naturally the base and top of the tower. Differentiating the building volume at these specific heights inextricably links the Cooltoren to the urban fabric and the Rotterdam skyline.
The Municipality of The Hague has developed Grote Marktstraat into the city’s main shopping street with an international ambience. The street has been turned into a sophisticated, car-free shopping boulevard. In line with this ambition, the old Sijthoff City has been transformed from a down-at-heel 1980s office building into a sophisticated retail Mecca.
In 2016, KPN decided to move its head office functions from The Hague to the KPN Toren on Wilhelminapier in Rotterdam. This building from 2000 by architect Renzo Piano is right next to the Erasmus Bridge and is known for its sloping facade. KPN wanted to add a sizeable publicly accessible programme and at the same time design all work and meeting places in accordance with KPN’s SMART technology.
Now that the Houthaven neighbourhood is no longer used for the transhipment of timber, this section of land is changing into a mixed creative area, while retaining its industrial character. Soon this will be home to large ships, stylish fashion, rugged factories, lively television recordings and theatre shows. Mediahaven turns making television into a public and open experience, and it is a creative pioneer that has brought expression to the transformation of Houthavens.
Built in 1960 to serve temporarily as a town hall, and then used for years as a workshop and studio, the building was transformed into a residential building in 2018. The original building has a fascinating modernist and no-nonsense appearance but does little in terms of urban planning to make this part of the inner city more interesting. This is where the challenge lay for us, namely, to retain the DNA of the building and the character of the south side of the city centre as post-war reconstruction architecture and create a second reconstruction that provides a quality boost for Arnhem.