Is Rotterdam's architecture ambitious enough? / by Tom Oliver Payne


My last trip to Rotterdam was to visit some long lost cousins when I was a young lad. I guess now that I know the city is one of the most talked about architectural cities in Europe, I'll have another reason to go back. 

 Not only was the 'White House' (45 metres) the tallest office building in Europe after it's construction in 1898, but initial re-construction of parts of the city centre after World War II bombings led to very ambitious new architectural designs.

In a 2009 statement regarding the construction of Rotterdam City Tower, however, Jan Willem van Kuilenburg (principal of Monolab Architects) had this to say:

"‘Rotterdam is too hesitant, too defensive and too much like an underdog. After the Erasmus bridge we are in need of a real skyscraper of European scale of which Rotterdam can be proud. All currently realised towers in Rotterdam are of mediocre quality and very primitive. As we should save in prosperous periods, it makes the current economic crisis the right time to invest."

With over thirty projects currently in the pipeline, high-rise development in Rotterdam certainly doesn't seem to be unhealthy it looks like there is some pretty amazing stuff being built. Can't wait to see it for myself.

Photos by Ben Ross. Feature image courtesy Giulio Menna.