The SourceCivil Engineering MagazineSlideshow: Design unveiled for maritime center to be built in Rotterdam’s harbor

Slideshow: Design unveiled for maritime center to be built in Rotterdam’s harbor

By Catherine A. Cardno, Ph.D.

  • looking at the partially submerged curves of a building across the harbor
  • looking at the water from within a plaza with white curving rooflines and glass encased rooms visible
  • looking down a concrete walkway with grass, trees, and a low wall to the right, with water and a skyline in the distance
  • looking across the water of a harbor at a city skyline
  • aerial view of a harbor surrounded by towers, with bridges crossing the water and a three volume building within the harbor
  • looking across a harbor at the curves of a partially submerged circular building at night

Netherlands-based architecture firm Mecanoo has released its design for the city of Rotterdam’s planned Maritime Center. The 15,000 sq m building will be located in the water of the Rijnhaven as part of Condrico Terrain, a new mixed-use urban development planned by the RED Company for the harborside industrial site. The Maritime Center will be located off the shore and accessible from land via two bridges.

The 190,000 sq m Condrico Terrain development includes a tower, a quayside building, and the restored Condrico factory. A network of paths will enable the public to stroll around the entire harbor basin, and floating parks will activate the water itself, according to the developers.

diagram of the different stories in the building
(Mecanoo’s Maritime Center Rotterdam copyright Mecanoo)

The multistory Maritime Center will comprise three above-water circular volumes in footprint. Curving exterior and interior walkways will link these together. The base of the building will have a unified footprint that is larger than the three volumes combined and will be partially submerged to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the time of day as the tide ebbs and flows up to 2 m in height.

Skylights for the building’s lowest level — which will hold exhibits — will project above the waterline at high tide. By partially submerging the center in the water, the architecture firm explains, it was able to size the building such that it could house an extensive program without visually overwhelming the port with its size or scale.

The center will be a destination for maritime entrepreneurs and those interested in science and culture. The three volumes are meant to conceptually bring together the past, present, and future of the international maritime world, according to a statement released by Mecanoo.

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