Residential tower, Rotterdam
Casanova+Hernandez draw upon a modernist vision, but with an updated twist.
ROTTERDAM (NL) - Cool Tower, the winning entry in a closed competition for a striking new residential high-rise, has been developed by Rotterdam-based Casanova+Hernandez Architects with the city's distinctive history and character of modernism as its foremost inspiration. The programme includes a refreshing mix of housing typologies – from loft to panorama, penthouse and even duplex – and accentuates its sculptural appearance through the integration of lengthy balconies that wind their way around the tower from base to apex. The resultant bold white layering and regular diagonals of the facade move the eye ever upwards, at the same moment underpinning the design's modernist roots. (Dutton R. Hauhart)
Cool Tower is located in the Cool neighbourhood of the city centre of Rotterdam. This area was totally rebuilt in the 1960s after the massive bombardments suffered by the city in the Second World War, becoming an icon of the urban planning and architecture of the modern movement. A high tower placed in this location should be a building that dialogues with the surrounding urban context on one hand, but on the other hand it should also become an icon linked with the rich modern architectural tradition of the city of Rotterdam.
The project is inspired by the spirit of modernity and innovation, the essence of the city; by the experimental villas of the 1930s, characterized by long, continuous windows and white facades combined with abundant open spaces, such as the Sonneveld house built by Brinkman and Van der Vlugt or the Chabot museum, both located near the tower site, and by higher buildings designed in the 1950s by architects such as Maaskant or Van der Broek and Bakema, where the transparent long windows and the sculptural long balconies were overlapped, creating vibrating facades.
A multifunctional plinth that contains residential facilities, an automatic parking garage, office spaces and a sport centre is designed to create urban continuity with the near urban context. The compact circulation core is surrounded by a flexible, continuous living space opened towards the exterior with panoramic views. The long and flying cantilevered balconies along the apartments create a feeling of horizontality and lightness in the exterior image of the building. The curved corners and diagonal lines give to the building its expressive and sculptural aspect. Three main floor types are combined in the tower to provide a variety of apartment types, creating a fragmented exterior image related with its housing function, and thus avoiding a monumental image.
The top levels have been carefully designed to give an appropriate end to the tower, creating the classic distinction between base, shaft and capital. The tower seeks to be an articulated urban element that works appropriately on different scales: from the human scale on street level till the exterior image towards the city.
Four main housing types (loft, corner apartment, panorama apartment, living and working) and two special types with large roof terraces at the top (penthouse-terrace and duplex) differ in size, orientation, morphology and spatial fragmentation to promote living space for different target groups. A compact service core on the darker side of the apartment allows a perimetric, continuous living area with good natural ventilation, excellent natural lighting and panoramic views. The typical plan of the tower avoids northerly-orientated apartments to guarantee direct sunlight in every living room. Each apartment has a long balcony connected with the interior spaces by large, glazed doors.
The basic facilities are contained in the service core, the layout of which is fixed in each type. The rest of the interior partitions can be configured in very different ways, varying from spacious lofts to very fragmented apartments with five rooms.
Friday | 24 September | 2010 | Netherlands | Casanova+Hernandez Architects