OPEN CITY Rotterdam:: Not an end of public space, but a change of character


Open City Site

The Team: Studio REFUGE

The Site: Wijnhaveneiland

The Tutor: Harmon van der Wall (Krill Architects)

Over the course of the next two weeks our group, Studio REFUGE, has the task of proposing future development interventions/scenarios that will transform Rotterdam’s original core into a reality consistent with the Open-City philosophy – a collective, attractive (literally, serve as an attractor), and economically strong environment.  We wanted to tap into a design pool familiar with the public spaces of Rotterdam.  We started an archinect discussion about the future potential industries.  See in-progress string here.

Our site has the potential to become the densest part of the city.  We are an island of low, mid, and high-rise development, with plans to go extremely vertical.  Additionally, it is a well connected piece of the city and within walking distance of all major landmarks, neighborhoods, attractions, and regional transit hubs.  On my first day in Rotterdam, I found myself on the island without even realizing I was isolated.  Dutch landscape architects have proposed changes to the area for years.  Why haven’t any of these open space solutions been realized?

I am finding that many threads are connecting the intentions of Open City with my own interests in new cities and new pubic space typologies.  My posts over the course of this program (the next 10 days) might be the stream of consciousness that flows around the nodes of structured studio time.

The concept of 3D city refers to the rethinking, or challenging, of the current urban landscape to create a multi-directional network of urban space.  (Rethinking the orientation of the urban landscape)

The open city philosophy encourages new and abundant activity on the street.  We challenge the traditional orientation and use of streets to activate the city center.

We reorient the city center networks of transportation, circulation, from mainly ground level and horizontal to a highly vertical and three dimensional scenario.

By building upward and outward, we blur the boundaries of building an object and link.  With an image-able vision of a new city center, we explore the possibilities of an architecture of assimilation.

Rotterdam Open City attempts to be an “attractive” city.  A attractor of people, events, activity, and public life.  Visitors in the open city feel welcome, way-find with ease, and enjoy a dynamic set of city amenities.

The investment of two industries will help fuel the transformation.  One is a technological push -to be a leader of digital networking.  The other is related to Design Tourism.

Massing Model Rotterdam


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