NL Architects completes turquoise tower
that leans over towards the top

| 12 comments
 

Dutch studio NL Architects used turquoise-coloured bricks to build this apartment block in Rotterdam, which staggers at the top to make room for sunny balconies on one side (+ slideshow).

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

NL Architects was one of seven firms invited to design buildings for a new residential development in the Nieuw-Crooswijk neighbourhood. Each architect was encouraged to include "elaborate details" in their designs to give variety to the different facades.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

This 15-storey tower is the tallest building within its surroundings, so the architects staggered the five uppermost floors to create south-facing sun decks that aren't shaded beneath the roof of the floor above.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

Each floor is the same size, which means these upper storeys project outwards on the opposite side of the building to create the impression that the building is leaning over.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

"We wanted to displace the floors in a way that would create a sunny terrace on one side and an interesting facade on the other," architect Kamiel Klaasse told Dezeen, describing the overall effect as a "freaky cornice".

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

The designers named the building Kuifje, the Dutch name for Tintin, to draw comparisons between the hairstyle of the famous cartoon character and the unusual profile of the tower.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

Rather than matching the red brick of its neighbours, the walls of the tower are built from turquoise bricks that were made by a process called engobing.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

"The aqua-marine effect is caused by something we call engobe, which includes a coloured clay slip coated in this case with copper oxide," said Klaasse.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

Two apartments are contained on each of the building's 14 main floors, creating a total of 28 units that each feature one double bedroom, an open-plan kitchen and living room, and a study.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

Apartments on the regular floors don't feature sun decks, but do come with smaller recessed balconies.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

Photography is by Luuk Kramer.

Here's a project description from NL Architects:


B05 "Kuifje" Rotterdam

Nieuw-Crooswijk is a residential area in Rotterdam, strategically located near the city centre and Kralingse Bos, a beautiful park. "Everything within 10 minutes." Large parts have recently been demolished and will soon be reconstructed.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

Seven architecture offices were invited to contribute to a differentiated 'cityscape'. The objective was to create expressive architecture; the focus on refining the facades by to introducing elaborate details; accentuating entrances, articulating bay windows and balconies, introducing intricate brickwork, pronounced window frames and delicate fences: sculptural on the micro scale.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

Each of the invited offices designed several blocks that are sprinkled around the area. In order to manage the resulting complexity an experimental organisational system was invented: one single 'back office' would draw up all plans and develop them into coherent architecture. ABT is responsible for what is 'under the hood'; the selected architects can as such concentrate on detailing the facades…

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

The developer, Ontwikkelings Combinatie Nieuw Crooswijk/Proper-Stok Groep, asked NL Architects to design several of what were called 'specials': seven apartment blocks that presumably will play an important role in the area for their position or height.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

B05 is part of a series of 7 designs for Nieuw Crooswijk that all emphasise a building part, mostly the outdoor space, to create a both functional and sculptural quality.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies

B05, or Kuifje (Tintin), is positioned in the second block along the Boezemlaan that is now under construction. B05 is the tallest structure in this cluster; a 15 stories tower, two apartments per floor. The first 10 floor go up straight, but after reaching the maximum height of the neighbours, the building starts deforming.

Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Concept diagram

The highest floors lean forward, piercing through the building line, creating a distinct silhouette. A kind of super sized cornice comes into being.

The standard floors all feature a loggia facing south west. By pushing the upper floors the penthouses can all feature an additional balcony over the full width of the apartment with a sensational view over the skyline of Rotterdam.

Site plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Site plan - click for larger image

Location: Boezemlaan, Nieuw Crooswijk, Rotterdam
Client: OCNC, Woonstad Rotterdam, Proper-Stok Groep, ERA Contour
Program: housing (28 units), retail space, total 3,600 sqm
Process: design 2008, start construction 2010, completion 2013
NL Architects: Pieter Bannenberg, Walter van Dijk, Kamiel Klaasse
Project Architect: Sarah Möller
Collaborators: Thijs van Bijsterveldt, Wim Sjerps, Stefan Schülecke, Florent Le Corre, Gerbrand van Oostveen, Gen Yamamoto
Structural Engineering and Working Drawings: Adviesbureau voor Bouwtechniek (ABT)
Contractor: ERA Contour

Basement plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Basement plan - click for larger image
Basement plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Ground floor plan - click for larger image
First floor plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
First floor plan - click for larger image
Second to seventh floor plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Second to seventh floor plan - click for larger image
Eighth floor plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Eighth floor plan - click for larger image
Ninth floor plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Ninth floor plan - click for larger image
Tenth floor plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Tenth floor plan - click for larger image
Eleventh floor plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Eleventh floor plan - click for larger image
Twelfth floor plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Twelfth floor plan - click for larger image
Thirteenth floor plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Thirteenth floor plan - click for larger image
Fourteenth floor plan of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Fourteenth floor plan - click for larger image
Section of Turquoise tower by NL Architects that staggers back to create sunny balconies
Section - click for larger image
  • Colonel Pancake

    The most notable part of the project was the completely soulless block of contemporary housing. It’s depressing how often architecture is regressive and inferior to historical standards of urbanism.

    • spadestick

      Your comment is uninformed – it’s got nothing to do with style. It’s the articulation of the streetscape which includes scale, and softscaping (trees alone are not what you call softscape). What you see here is a lack of that. Compare with Borneo Sporenburg (not the waterside) – architects’ hands are often tied by the planners who had planned the streetscape.

      Bad architecture often helps the good architecture look much better, but the streetscape/landscape helps to solidify that effect.

    • Tyssot

      I live very near this new development and it is in reality uninspiring and uninteresting.

  • kkkkkkk

    Concept diagram makes no sense. So by tilting the top the sun comes out?

    • bbbbbb

      By tilting the top, the building gains sunlit terraces (as opposed to shaded balconies of a standard tower). It’s a simple concept to grasp :)

      • ceekay

        What about the other side of the building?

  • grig

    If they were aiming for ugly why stop here? Again, just because something can be done does not mean we should go and do it.

  • Jungle Julie

    Oh diagrams, it’s like jokes getting told too often, only people who live in it will have to endure it all the time.

  • asolitarywave

    Wow – two staircases and a lift for a pair of one bed flats on each floor. I’m all up for dual aspect housing, but this (especially on say the eleventh floor where the shift creates a superwide staircase) is ridiculously inefficient.

  • os

    Everything that is wrong about architecture. In turquoise.

  • Barry

    Completely disagree with all comments.

    Come visit some of the residential tower blocks going up around the UK to understand uninspiring and uninteresting. From the limited angles and views to appreciate the buildings completely in their context, they seem to have a quiet gravitas which is befitting of a “background” architecture these types of developments aspire to be. They’re not shouty gimmicky “look at me” architecture that the commenters on these boards so often fornicate themselves over.

    To add, given the amount construction site featured in the images this is probably an initial phase of a development so any ‘soulless’ finger pointing should be reserved for if the comment still holds true in 10 years time.

  • ringo star

    Agreed.