Coolsingel . Rotterdam


Instead of yet another tower project competing for height, the project aims to reconfigure the image of the centre by inserting the pure form of the cube on the site.
Two contextual observations triggered the design process. The position of the site in the urban context of the city Rotterdam can truly be regarded as the center of Rotterdam. This is the moment where Rotterdam's most important streets: Coolsingel, Lijnbaan, Binnenweg and Beurstraverse merge together. The second observation is Rotterdam’s current construction development that almost entirely consists of tower projects. The high-rise creates an impressive skyline, but due to mono-functionality and its lack of engagement with the surrounding public domain it does not succeed to enhance the attractiveness and liveliness of the centre.

Previous Schemes

The cube spatially reorganizes its context and generates floor surfaces that can facilitate for a wide range of (public) programs. A system of void spaces introduces a spatial configuration that brings daylight into the cube and views to the surroundings from within the cube.

Public program like restaurants, exhibition and media spaces are situated in the middle of the block and on the top floors. From these floors the public will be able to overlook the entire Rotterdam area. The biggest challenge will be to attract the people to go up. Slanted public elevators that stop at few floors only will make an event of the travel.

The base of the block will consist of 5 floors of retail. Within these floors connections with the surroundings are established on different levels with Lijnbaan, Binnenwegplein, Coolsingel, Beurstraverse and potentially in the future with underground station Blaak. Parking for both residents and office program will be situated below the retail floors.

The actual open space of the site is a courtyard surrounded by monuments including the ABN-AMRO building on Coolsingel. An impressive bank building that was the first to be erected in the centre after the air raid in WWII. OMA considers it a challenge to integrate these valuable buildings within the design. The bank will be given a prominent role in the new plan. It will form the base for the new developments and the monumental entrance will become the main address on Coolsingel. With new retail program the building will become more accessible and reinvigorated, while the current owner, ABN-AMRO, will remain an important user in the future.

Energy-efficient concepts play an integral role in the development of the design. Since the first design ideas, energy consultant Enplus has collaborated in the design process to optimize the daylight condition and energy use inside the building.

The municipality’s ambitions for the future development of the centre aim to enhance the physical quality of the public domain and the quality of life in the inner city. OMA feels that with this design it is capable of fully supporting these ambitions. Programmatic mixture, environmental value and engagement with the surrounding public domain are essential elements in the design.

Schematic design
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
120,000m2 total: 30,000m2 retail; 70,000m2 office, residential, culture and leisure space

Structure: ABT, Zonneveld
Consultant Climate Engineering & Building Performance: Enplus

Partners: Floris Alkemade,
Rem Koolhaas
Project Leader: Mark Veldman
Team: Chantal Aquilina, Nicholas Batelli, Andrea Bertassi, Philippe Braun, Billy Guidoni, Jonas Klock, Barend Koolhaas, Ju Hong Park, Luis Pompeo Martins

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