The City of Rotterdam invited a number of parties to present proposals for a combined residential and office building next to the approach to the Willemsbrug in Rotterdam city centre. The architects ZJA drew up the winning design.
The site has a triangular plan and stands directly alongside the bridge’s abutment. Making optimal use of the available space, the site’s building line was elevated to a height of 70 metres. To avoid obstructing the view of the building of the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (Academy of the Arts), a chunk has been cut out of the volume over the first eight storeys. This results in a breathtaking overhang of 25 metres from the ninth floor upwards.
The 25-storey tower was designed to combine living and working. The building offers a high level of service, not only for residents and office workers but also for the neighbourhood. On the lowest floor of the tower there is space for shared office facilities such as meeting rooms, a copyshop and a shared reception with porter.
The parking is partly accommodated in an underground carpark and partly on the floors immediately above the road deck of the bridge abutment, which could not be used for living or working because of the noise levels. The parking spaces on the upper floors are reached by car-lift. Above the carpark a few floors are intended exclusively for office functions, because the noise level from the traffic is still too high for residential use. Residential and commercial functions are combined from the seventh floor up.
The layout of the floors is aimed at flexible use, which results in unusual living spaces. Spaces can easily be fitted out for residential or work use. The building’s installations are tailored to facilitate this flexibility. Like a bridge, the load-bearing structure of the building consists of a load-bearing concrete tower in the middle with stay cables on each side to support the floors. The concrete core holds the lift shafts. A fitness club is located on the lowest floor of the overhanging section. On this floor, jutting out of the tower like the point of a triangle, there is a swimming pool with a glass bottom. The sparkle of the water and the swimmers in the pool are visible from the street.
The building is located in a lively area on the banks of the river Maas, close to the city’s old harbour where living and working have been combined of old. The building nestles perfectly within the urban structure. There are proposals for restaurants and cafes on the waterside at the foot of the building. The passageway under the abutment of the Willemsbrug is being transformed into a gallery for exhibitions.