The Wijnhaven, a small harbor near the Blaak railway station in Rotterdam, was originally developed next to the new Meuse (‘Maas’) in the 17th century. After bombings in the second world war most of the historical buildings were destroyed. Nowadays the Wijnhaven is marked by large apartment buildings and towers . At the very east point of the island inside the harbor, between the ‘Wijnhaven’ and the ‘Scheepmakershaven’ there is a large red tower. At exactly this location it was commissioned a design concept for a modern sustainable skyscraper of over 200 meters in height.
Sustainable skyscrapers will play an important role in the development of modern cities like Rotterdam. Not only they will mark the city, but they will also influence the design of large future buildings. Most sustainable concepts nowadays show a radical break with traditional architecture, whereas the past provides us with so much inspiration. This proposal tries to show a modest and sensible but very recognizable design. A design which is not only influenced by modern high-tech equipment but also by the past.
In general skyscrapers tend to pile up their different functions. By perforating the square, the low-rise and the skyscraper itself, a simple gesture is made to spread multiple functions around the side. These so called perforations can be seen as atria which provides access for daylight and natural ventilation in the public space. Not only will these spaces be used as sport facility, playground or lounge, it will also be a healthy routing through the building, where social interaction is stimulated.
In order to use the potential of the sun, the building follows the plot line. By placing the tower at the very east point of the Wijnhaven, it creates a square orientated to south. A shortcut has been integrated throughout the building to provide a link between the road along the Meuse (Maasboulevard) and the railway station Blaak. In this way the square becomes a public space which connects the Blaak railway station to the river.
In order to design a sensitive, modest and modern landmark, the façade shows a very severe rhythm which is interrupted where the atriums are located. Horizontal elements are accentuated to reduce the effect created by the height of the tower. These elements will contain sun-blinds and LSC (luminescent solar concentrator) to reduce energy consumption and to generate electricity. LSC is a transparent material that concentrates non-ionizing solar radiation from a large surface to a smaller surface in order to generate electricity. In fact this means that the actual ‘solar panel’ can be very small and possible to hide between the joints of the material. This approach results in a modern facade which looks familiar and at the same time unexpected due to the perforations.