A mixed-use vertical city in a former harbour district in Rotterdam

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 project began in 1997. Construction started at the end of 2009, with completion in 2013. The towers are part of the ongoing redevelopment of the old harbour district of Wilhelminapier, next to the Erasmus Bridge, and aim to reinstate the vibrant urban activity - trade, transport, leisure - once familiar to the neighbourhood. De Rotterdam is named after one of the ships on the Holland America Line, which departed from the Wilhelminapier in decades past, carrying thousands of Europeans emigrating to the US.


The three towers reach 150m high, with a gross floor area of approximately 162,000m2, making De Rotterdam the largest building in the Netherlands. OMA's architectural concept produces more than sheer size: urban density and diversity - both in the program and the form - 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.

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.


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

Key Facts

Gross Floor Area: 162,000 m2

Plot size: 107 m x 36 m (3,852 m2)

Height: 150 m
Façade area: 50,000 m2
Investment costs: € 340,000,000
Weight of building: 230,000,000 kg (line of cars of 1,200 km)
Concrete volume: 74,000 m3 (12,000 concrete mixer trucks; line of 23km)
Weight of reinforcement: 12 tons (12,000 kg)
Number of foundation piles: 1,165 (total length of 24 km)
Number of doors: 6,100
Number of elevators: 24

Construction pit of 50,000 m3 is removed by ship
Daily 130 site workers during structural work (concrete)
Daily 600 site workers during peak in outfitting

In total more than 4,500 site workers have built the project.


Partners in charge: Rem Koolhaas, Reinier de Graaf, Ellen van Loon

Associate in charge: Kees van Casteren

Team 1997-2001 (50% SD): Christina Beaumont, Stefan Bendiks, Frans Blok, Robert Cheoff, Bert Karel Deuten, Sharon Goren, Juan Guardetti, Jens Holm, Alex de Jong, Adam Kurdahl, Carolien Ligtenberg, Anna Little, Nuno Rosado, Saskia Simon, Johan de Wachter, Barbara Wolff

Team 2007-08 (50% SD - building permit): Chantal Aquilina, Eva Dietrich, Anita Ernödi, Markus Frank, Jonah Gamblin, Clarisa Garcia-Fresco, Alex de Jong, Michel van de Kar, Christoph Michael, Elida Mosquera, Mauro Parravicini, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Raphael Pulido, Louise Sullivan, Olaf Turck, Manuel Villanueva, with: Chun Chiu, Duncan Flemington, Evangelos Kotsioris, Sören Martinussen, Nobuki Ogasahara, Theo Petrides, Benoit Schelstraete, Ian Schopa, Kyo Stockhaus, Joao Viera Costa, Luca Vigliero, Jussi Vuori, Jean-Paul Willemse

Team 2009-13 (construction phase / interiors): Michel van de Kar (associate), Marlies Boterman, Christoph Michael, with: Katrien van Dijk, Nathalie Gozdziak, Sai Shu, Saskia Simon, Tomas Dirrix, Erik de Haan, Jue Qiu, Thomas Shadbolt, Pal Trodahl

Interiors hotel (2013): Saskia Simon, Marina Cogliani, Clive Hennessey, Yasuhito Hirose, Arminas Sadzevicius


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

Project management: DVP, 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

Daily Tonic, 27 July 2009
, 10 July 2009
World Architecture News, 28 January 2008
Domus, 23 January 2000
Baunetz, 25 January 2000

Telegraaf, 11 January 2001
Arquitectura Viva #76, February 2001
de Architect #2, March 2001
World Architecture #95, 01 April 2001
Bouw #2, February 2002
AMC Le Moniteur Architecture, December 2001
Architekt #3, 2002
de Volkskrant, 4 July 2002
Topos #44, September 2003