OMA completes De Rotterdam
"vertical city" complex


News: architect Rem Koolhaas' studio OMA has completed its colossal "vertical city" in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (+ slideshow).

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Michel van de Kar

OMA designed the giant De Rotterdam complex for its home city, where the building sits on the south bank of the Maas river.

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Ossip van Duivenbode

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.

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Ossip van Duivenbode

"We made a building that consists of separate volumes that were slightly shifted vis-a-vis each other so that it was very adaptable," Rem Koolhaas told Dezeen during a tour of the building today.

De Rotterdam by OMA

"We could easily replace one part with another part and therefore accommodate different logics and arguments," he added. "This shifting creates a large building, but a large building that is a very dynamic presence in the city."

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Ossip van Duivenbode

Overlapping blocks form the three towers that all share a plinth, in which lobbies and public spaces are located.

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Ossip van Duivenbode

These blocks contain separate office spaces, residential apartments, hotel and conference facilities, restaurants and cafes. Workers and residents share the conference, sport and restaurant facilities.

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Charlie Koolhaas

The building is named after one of the ships that transported Dutch immigrants to America from 1873 to the 1970s.

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Philippe Ruault

Rem Koolhaas recently accepted an award for the best tall building of the year for the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, ten years after declaring he wanted to "kill the skyscraper".

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Philippe Ruault

Here's some information from OMA:

De Rotterdam

OMA today marks the completion of De Rotterdam, a mixed-use, 160,000-metre-square slab-tower conceived as a "vertical city" on the river Maas.

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Philippe Ruault

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."

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Ossip van Duivenbode

With the building's completion, a critical mass has been established on the Kop van Zuid, realising the long-established vision of a second city centre 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.

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Ossip van Duivenbode

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 organised into distinct but overlapping blocks of commercial office space, residential apartments, hotel and conference facilities, restaurants and cafes.

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Ossip van Duivenbode

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 pedestrianised public hub by means of a common hall.

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Photograph by Michel van de Kar

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."

Section of OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Perspective atrium section - click for larger image

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.

OMA completes De Rotterdam building
Perspective long section

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

  • rd365

    Very Manhattan. Rem finally got to build his Rockefeller Center. This looks great; the city really needed some visual weight at that end of the bridge.

    • sound

      The “weight” comes from the density and the bloody capitalism. It is sad that even the “master architect” can’t change a thing. There is no different that you work in this box than another. Come on, a “shift”? Student trick.

  • Javier Agustín Rojas

    But it’s a Rockefeller with no content, no nothing, just a couple of nice boxes like Sanaa in New York City. Here is where you see that guys like Wiel Arets really do the trick when it comes to building high rises without giving away architecture.

  • gttt

    What’s with the leaning horizon in the photo, Michel van de Kar? :)

  • Danny

    ‘Visual weight’.Yes, it has that. I’m not an architect, just a person. I think it looks ‘visually’ cold and culturally, aesthetically bloody awful.

  • spil

    It’s out of balance with its surroundings. OMA is making a statement, but this is a little too easy in my opinion. Not a fan!

  • James

    Doesn’t change the fact that I do NOT like Rotterdam, and I severly doubt anyone else does.

    • Laurence of Arabia

      I agree in theory… in theory.

  • pieter

    I think it is great. Interesting massing and another ‘skyscraper’ which does something other than just being a vertical extrusion.

    • Fedster

      Ya, it shifts slightly to the right midway through… Wow.

  • antistarchitect

    Bland stacked boxes. Big deal. I’m sure the Rotterdam residents hate it. Nothing but a bland and intrusive mass. Shows how far Koolhaas has fallen since the Kunsthal days.

  • El Jiji

    Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright has a nice piece on the building. He points out the fact that ‘the biggest building in the Netherlands’ was built in a city with 30% office space vacancy.

    • Ard Buijsen

      Well although there is quite a lot of vacant office space, it is by no means 30%

  • pipo

    It looks quite nice and very playful for such a massive building (have yet to see it finished though). Also, it fits really well with the surroundings on the Kop van Zuid; the KPN building next to it doesn’t look so lost in space anymore, it actually looks better with de Rotterdam next to it.

    Building such a huge office building in a city with 30% vacancy is pretty sad really. Heard the Rotterdam city government is going to rent a big part of the available office space (and relocate from offices in other parts of the city) to make the building a “success”.

  • Dave Carcamano

    How incredibly cold and boring.

  • Redfern

    I am a person and I like Rotterdam – just because you don’t like it that doesn’t mean that everyone else needs to think like you.

  • amsam

    I second Danny. If they were looking for “visual weight” they sure got it. When the brief is to pack that enormous volume of rentable office space onto a blocky footprint, I can’t imagine how one could possibly design anything with any elegance. Certainly Rem didn’t manage it here.

  • amsam

    Stop James, you’re breaking Rotterdam’s heart.

  • dwf

    James, your opinion means nothing.

  • Marco Lammers

    I’ve been struggling with this building
    ever since its first designs have been published. I’ve been shocked to find out the horizontal lining in its plinth, and I still think the mass arrives at ground level in a banal fashion that does not do any justice to its experience of mass.

    But, something tells me the heartless brutality of it might make my love it in 15 years, as I’ve come to appreciate many underwhelming buildings over time. It might turn out as Rotterdam’s version of New York’s old Twin Towers, perhaps.

    Until then – and until I see it with my own eyes and get to get used to its presence I’ll just have to accept to have no opinion about it at all.

  • teapot

    Absolutely hideous.

  • ysck

    Koolhaas manages everytime to produce something that cannot be associated with any building in collective memory, which means an architecture without references of aesthetic judgement. His work may be regarded as anti architecture. Ugly? Yes, very much so. But he doesn’t care and he still can sell.

  • common

    I love this building. Gotta give credit to OMA, in a culture of excess, egomania and senseless ‘form generation’ …’the age of the architectural icon’. This firm has decided to produce work that does not glorify individual genius or visual effect, but one of structural and conceptual logic that offers new possibilities of performance and functionality.

    It’s interesting how people associate good/great architecture with the Gehry/Hadid-effect, buildings that make you go ooh and ahh. It’s really a shame it’s come to that.

    what do people really expect?? a tower that has superfluous curves?
    I think its a great project. this project speaks of a resistance to the style of ‘architecture’ that is all about ego and extravagance.

    • NIU

      Liking the box is just your taste, wow and ahh means the architecture beyond curves.

      Less is more, but this project is not less, it is massive money I can see, why not open more gap to give sunshine to the river?

  • mikele

    Beautiful. Really nice. I like it a lot.

  • T3K

    Soulless and ugly.

  • Anna

    I commend Koolhaas for trying to innovate in a type of architecture that can be so ‘samey’. He raises a great point, but he himself should have tried much harder. You don’t innovate and break away from skyscrapers by opting into the stacking trend – that’s even worse than sticking to the skyscraper archetype, and doing a nice job of it.

    The geometry should have been refined much more. Stacked rectangular prisms isn’t even simple in a clever way, it’s just a goddamn copout. I’d expect this sort of trash from a construction firm with no architectural finesse. I’m sure some 2 year olds with building blocks could create something more expressive.

  • Ben M

    I really like the massing of the towers above but from what I can see from the photos, it’s a pity they don’t really interact with the ground plane at street level in such an interesting and dynamic way. They just crash into a horizontally defined 6 level podium, which seems to be filled with car-parking for at least the first 3 levels above ground floor.

  • Aris

    So this building represents a person with a small ego. Architecture is not about fancy buildings that make you go ooh and ahh, it’s more about function and beauty as they shape the environment we live in. This building is a disgrace, it destroys the skyline of Rotterdam and creates an unwanted barrier. It does not improve Rotterdam’s image in any way!

    • Dave Carcamano

      Exactly, I can’t believe that in this time and age someone is still buying this aesthetic of functionalism bull crap.

  • Frank Jones

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre comes to Rotterdam…I love cultural exchange

  • Julian Raxworthy

    Love a skyscraper, love the gaps in this one and its shift but some critical take on the podium where it meets the ground would be nice. Should get on street view and check it out ‘spose.