Coolsingel 2 - 44

Location
Rotterdam

Client
Municipality of Rotterdam

Design
2001

Area surface
62.000 sq m

Competition: council offices

The competition has been organised for ideas for new council offices for the Municipality of Rotterdam. Contrary to what the competition programme states, our proposal includes the retention of the existing council offices. Our philosophy that the reconstruction of the centre of Rotterdam has not been completed is combined with recent developments that do not deplete the urban fabric (demolition) but densify it instead. Through super position, double utilisation of land and programmatic intensification and reuse, the development of the centre of the city is continued.

The council offices themselves represent the ideal incentive to express this approach. As the interme-diate between council and citizens, as Rotterdam’s living room, as a real-time service desk, as the location for the greatest day of your life or as the occasional canteen of the local football club, it pre-eminently qualifies to present itself, sometimes conspicuously, sometimes in a scattered way, as an addition to the present cityscape. To achieve this, the entire ‘island’ between Coolsingel, Meent, Pompenburg and Haagse Veer is considered to represent the base for the programme.

By constructing the access routes for fast and slow traffic sunk into the ground, it is possible to make the original ground surface a car-free area and to position the monumental buildings along the Coolsingel in a green field. The office programme for the council offices is distributed among eight tower blocks to be added to the current buildings.

We have attempted to express the council offices as an additional cityscape, not isolated within the building line but interwoven with the existing buildings. An addition to the Rotterdam street scene as it has been developing daily for the past sixty years.

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