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Vertical City: De Rotterdam Mixed-use Building

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 the new building is situated.
Architects: OMA
Location: Wilhelminapier, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Façade of De Rotterdam by OMA

Photograph: Charlie Koolhaas

Total view of the De Rotterdam

Photograph: Michel van de Kar

Façade of the De Rotterdam

Photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode

De Rotterdam is conceived as a vertical city: three interconnected mixed-use towers accommodating offices, apartments, a hotel, conference facilities, shops, restaurants, and cafes. The towers are part of the ongoing redevelopment of the old harbour district of Wilhelminapier and aim to reinstate the vibrant urban activity – trade, transport, leisure – once familiar to the neighbourhood.

Map with location of the De Rotterdam


Night view at De Rotterdam

Photograph: Michel van de Kar

Upview at the façade of the De Rotterdam

Photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode

Waterfront view of De Rotterdam

Photograph: Michel van de Kar

Façade of the west tower

Photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode

The three towers reach 150m high (44 floors) and span a width of over 100 meters. The gross floor area of approximately 162,000 m² makes De Rotterdam the largest building in the Netherlands. OMA’s architectural concept produces more than sheer size: Urban density and diversity are the guiding principles of the project. De Rotterdam’s stacked towers are arranged in a subtly irregular cluster that refuses to resolve into a singular form and produces intriguing new views from different perspectives. Similarly, the definition of the building changes according to its multiple uses internally.

Street view at De Rotterdam

Photograph: Philippe Ruault

Street view at De Rotterdam and warehouse

Photograph: Philippe Ruault

Street view at De Rotterdam

Photograph: Philippe Ruault

Atrium of De Rotterdam

Photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode

Waterfront view at De Rotterdam

Photograph: Charlie Koolhaas

The various programs of this urban complex are organized into distinct blocks, providing both clarity and synergy: Residents and office workers alike can use the fitness facilities, restaurants, and conference rooms of the hotel. And these private users of the building have contact with the general public on the ground floor, with its waterfront cafes. The lobbies for the offices, hotel, and apartments are located in the plinth – a long elevated hall that serves as a general traffic hub for De Rotterdam’s wide variety of users.

Program section of De Rotterdam

Program section: OMA

Program isometry of De Rotterdam

Program isometry: OMA

Perspective plan of De Rotterdam

Perspective plan: OMA


Volume: OMA

Perspective longitudinal section of De Rotterdam

Longitudinal section: OMA

Atrium of De Rotterdam

Atrium, photograph: OMA

Elevation north of DE Rotterdam

Elevation north (Maas side): OMA

Model options of De Rotterdam

Model options, photograph: OMA

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.”

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.”

View from inside De Rotterdam to the east tower

View to east tower, photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode

Vier at De Rotterdam and bridge

Photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode

Skyline with skyscrapers and bridge

Photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode

View at Rotterdam skyline

Photograph: Michel van de Kar

South view at De Rotterdam at night

Photograph: Michel van de Kar

View at De Rotterdam from Rijnhaven

Photograph: Michel van de Kar

Project data

  • Status: Commission 1997, groundbreaking December 2009, completion November 2013
  • Site: Former harbour waterfront between KPN tower and Cruise Terminal at Kop van Zuid
  • Program: offices 72,000m²; 240 apartments 34,5000m²; hotel (278 rooms) / congress / restaurant 19,000m²; retail / F&B 1,000 m²; leisure 4,500 m²; parking (approx. 650 vehicles) 31,000 m²

Gross floor area: 162,000m²:
Plot size: 107 m x 36 m (3,852m²)
Height: 150 m
Façade area: 50,000 m²

Investment: Euro 340 million
Weight of building: 230,000 tons
Concrete volume: 74,000m³ (12,000 concrete mixer trucks)
Weight of reinforcement: 12 tons
Number of foundation piles: 1,165 (total length of 24 km)
Number of doors: 6,100
Number of elevators: 24

Clients: De Rotterdam CV, The Hague (Joint venture MAB, The Hague / OVG, Rotterdam)
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


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