The Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam is shaped by its maritime history. Passenger ships bound for America sailed from this pier and during the 19th and 20th century the pier became a symbol of emigration of Europeans to the United States and Canada. Van Dongen-Koschuch was asked to design two apartment buildings within this historic context, which since 2000 has seen a period of high-rise development. The buildings are located on the southern quay of the pier between the Seattle residential tower designed by Alvaro Siza and the Luxor theatre by Bolles+Wilson.
Both towers are 70 meters tall, and stand on a plinth of commercial spaces and a 4-storey parking garage. The floors above house 6 apartments each, to a total of 220 homes. A green roof is the link between the two towers where a large collective outdoor area is situated which has the added benefit of panoramic views over the harbour area as well as a communal meeting space. The cross-shaped floorplans allow for abundant views over the harbour and sunlight during the day.
This cross-shaped form results in a slender and elegant volume, along with semi-indoor balconies. The main challenge for the parking garage was to avoid designing an impenetrable box. We therefore developed a façade concept with an artistic intervention. Historical figurative images of have been projected onto a vertical structure of blinds that integrate elements for privacy, natural light and ventilation. From the ground level, the façade is perceived as a play of light and see-through fragments as you walk around the building. This dynamic structure combined with the robust grid of the towers which seem to integrate seamlessly on the Wilhelminapier.
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Design Team: C. de Heer, M. Verhelst, M. Llazares, J. Kreijne