Rotterdam West is characterised by urban blocks built between 1900 and 1930. These urban blocks have a courtyard that mainly consists of a system of private gardens. The size of this courtyard is determined by the surrounding street pattern.

There is a block of buildings between Rochussenstraat, Saftlevenstraat, ’s Gravendijkwal and Ochterveldstraat that is larger than average. Due to an intervention in the 1970s, a considerable part of it was occupied by a car park that belonged to a single owner. This building has since been converted from offices into apartments which require considerably less parking space.

This was an opportunity to add 12 apartments to meet the increasing demand for family-sized apartments in the city centre. Secluded in the courtyard.

Increasing the density of a 21st century urban block

The dimensions of the inner courtyard allowed for quality to be enhanced for everyone. It meant more green areas and less asphalt throughout the block, and a pleasant and small-scale residential environment instead of bleak office façades. The 12 new apartments will be built using a light timber construction on top of the existing car park. The current entrance to the car park in the inner court yard will be transformed into a green patio for communal use.


The new block of 12 apartments alone is an addition, as its raised pavement and prominent front doors, allow families to share the communal area in front of the apartments. It has an emphatically romantic architecture. It is associated with courtyards, informal access and contact between neighbours. Each apartment has a comfortable private inner area on the rear side and on the roof.

Duplex maisonettes

Creative use has been made here of the typical urban city-centre typology in the Netherlands of duplex maisonettes to enable each of the apartments to benefit from good accessibility, a spacious external area, and to incorporate them well into the communal space. The four lower apartments are twice the width and are single-layer. As a result, they activate the collective space at the front and provide a wide balcony as a continuation of the apartment at the rear. The eight upper apartments consist of a single section and are constructed as maisonettes. This makes best use of the available space and these apartments have a fantastic roof terrace.

  • commission: new build of 12 apartments within a residential block behind Nieuw-Hoboken
  • location: Saftlevenhof Rotterdam
  • client: Ready for Living
  • project management: Ready for Living
  • building contractor: CreFu
  • structural engineer: Alferink van Schieveen
  • acoustics and building physics consultant: DGMR
  • fire safety consultant: DGMR
  • programme: apartments
  • floor area: 1,300 m²
  • design: 2018
  • completion: 2022