De Rotterdam: Evening view on the bridge
Courtesy of OMA
Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode


-Glassy silhouette skyline Rotterdam

Angela van der Burght

Architect Rem Koolhaas' studio OMA has completed its colossal vertical city in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
The 44-storey interconnected glass towers span a width of over a hundred metres and remain roughly the same floor area for the entirety of the building's 150-metre height.

Posted 27 November 2013

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De Rotterdam
Project: A mixed-use vertical city
Status: Commission 1997, groundbreaking December 2009, completion November 2013
Clients: De Rotterdam CV, The Hague (Joint venture MAB, The Hague / OVG, Rotterdam)
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Site: Former harbour waterfront between KPN tower and Cruise Terminal at Kop van Zuid
Program: Total 162,000m2: offices 72,000m2; 240 apartments 34,5000m2; hotel (278 rooms) / congress / restaurant 19,000m2; retail / F&B 1,000m2; leisure 4,500m2; parking (approx. 650 vehicles) 31,000m2
Partners in charge: Rem Koolhaas, Reinier de Graaf, Ellen van Loon
Associate in charge: Kees van Casteren
Team 1997–2001 (50% SD): Christina Beaumont, Stefan Bendiks, Frans Blok, Robert Cheoff, Bert Karel Deuten, Sharon Goren, Juan Guardetti, Jens Holm, Alex de Jong, Adam Kurdahl, Carolien Ligtenberg, Anna Little, Nuno Ro­sado, Saskia Simon, Johan de Wachter, Barbara Wolff
Team 2007–08 (50% SD – building permit): Chantal Aquilina, Eva Dietrich, Anita Ernödi, Markus Frank, Jonah Gam­blin, Clarisa Garcia-Fresco, Alex de Jong, Michel van de Kar, Christoph Michael, Elida Mosquera, Mauro Parravicini, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Raphael Pulido, Louise Sullivan, Olaf Turck, Manuel Villanueva, with: Chun Chiu, Duncan Flemington, Evangelos Kotsioris, Sören Martinussen, Nobuki Ogasahara, Theo Petrides, Benoit Schelstraete, Ian Schopa, Kyo Stockhaus, Joao Viera Costa, Luca Vigliero, Jussi Vuori, Jean-Paul Willemse
Team 2009–13 (construction phase / interiors): Michel van de Kar (associate), Marlies Boterman, Christoph Mi­chael, with: Katrien van Dijk, Nathalie Gozdziak, Sai Shu, Saskia Simon, Tomas Dirrix, Erik de Haan, Jue Qiu, Pal Trodahl
Interiors hotel (2013): Saskia Simon, Marina Cogliani, Clive Hennessey, Yasuhito Hirose, Arminas Sadzevicius
Building code consultant: ABT Bouwkunde, Velp / Delft
Structural engineer: Corsmit, Rotterdam
Structural advisor in SD phase: Arup, London
Service engineers: Techniplan, Rotterdam (offices, hotel) / Valstar Simonis, Rijswijk (apartments, plinth)
Façades: Permasteelisa, Middelburg (offices, hotel, plinth) / TGM, Asten (apartments)
Fire safety / building physics: DGMR, Arnhem
Lighting consultant ground floor / atrium: Arup, Amsterdam
Scenography / lighting consultants hotel: Ducks Scéno, Paris / Les Eclaireurs, Lyon
Construction phase
Executive architect: B+M, The Hague
Elevators / escalators / building maintenance units: Kone, The Hague
MEP: Roodenburg, Krimpen aan den IJssel
Contractor: Züblin, Stuttgart / Antwerp / Vlaardingen
Reception desks ground floor: Smeulders, Nuenen
Gross Floor Area 162,000 m2
Plot size 107 m x 36 m (3,852 m2)
Height 150 m
Façade area 50,000 m2
Investment costs € 340,000,000
Weight of building 230,000,000 kg (line of cars of 1,200 km)
Concrete volume 74,000 m3 (12,000 concrete mixer trucks; line of 23km)
Weight of reinforcement 12 tons (12,000 kg)
Number of foundation piles 1,165 (total length of 24 km)
Number of doors 6,100
Number of elevators 24
Construction pit of 50,000 m3 is removed by ship
Daily 130 site workers during structural work (concrete)
Daily 600 site workers during peak in outfitting
In total more than 4,500 site workers have built the project.

Glass facade

De Rotterdam
Façade view
Credit: OMA
Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

Design Parameter

Rem Koolhaas
Courtesy of OMA
Photo: Fred Ernst 

Ellen van Loon: “Efficiency has been a central design parameter from day one. The extreme market forces at play throughout the course of the project, far from being a design constraint, have in fact reinforced our original concept. The result is a dense, vibrant building for the city.”
With the building’s completion, a critical mass has been established on the Kop van Zuid, realizing the long-established vision of a second city center south of the Maas. The building is named after one of the original ships on the Holland America Line, which from 1873 to the late 1970s transported thousands of emigrating Europeans bound for New York from the Wilhelmina Pier, next to which De Rotterdam is situated.
The three stacked and interconnecting towers of De Rotterdam rise 44 floors to a height of 150 meters and span a width of over 100 meters. Nevertheless, the building is exceptionally compact, with a mix of programs organized into distinct but overlapping blocks of commercial office space, residential apartments, hotel and conference facilities, restaurants and cafes. Office employees, residents and hotel guests are brought together in conference, sport and restaurant facilities. The building’s shared plinth is the location of the lobbies to each of the towers, creating a pedestrianized public hub by means of a common hall.
Rem Koolhaas: “Despite its scale and apparent solidity, the building’s shifted blocks create a constantly changing appearance, different from every part of the city. The fact that it stands today represents a small triumph of persistence for the city, the developer, the contractor and the architects.”
The various phases of design and construction were supervised by partners-in-charge Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon and Reinier de Graaf, and associate-in-charge Kees van Casteren. De Rotterdam is developed by MAB Development and OVG Real Estate.
About OMA
OMA is a leading international partnership practicing architecture, urbanism, and cultural analysis. OMA’s buildings and masterplans around the world insist on intelligent forms while inventing new possibilities for content and everyday use. AMO, a research and design studio, works in areas beyond architecture that today have an increasing influence on architecture itself: media, politics, renewable energy, technology, publishing, fashion.
OMA is led by six partners – Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon, Reinier de Graaf, Shohei Shigematsu, Iyad Alsaka, and David Gianotten – and sustains an international practice with offices in Rotterdam, New York, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Doha, employing a staff of around 350.
Heer Bokelweg 149
NL-3032 AD Rotterdam
+31 (0)10-2438200

De Rotterdam
North view bridge
Courtesy of OMA
Photo: Ossop van Duivenbode

De Rotterdam
Courtesy of Oma
Photo: Ossi van Duivenbode

De Rotterdam
Frontal view
Courtesy of OMA
Photo: Michel van de Kar

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