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Apr 24, 2007
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Went into Rotterdam to see the most recent additions to the skyline and the construction activity the other day, and took these pics.

De Koopgoot, pedestrian shopping zone ducking underneath the Coolsingel in the distance.


Lonely pre-war building: City Hall

Looking east: "The Pencil", the cube houses, blaak transit station, late-19th century "skyscraper" Het Witte Huis, and the Willemsbridge.


Around the marketsquare, new buildings have recently been completed.


The barely completed Statendam (78m), by Kolhoff and Rap+Rap

St Laurenskerk

more construction in the distance



Mandatory cube houses shot

Blaak transit station

Recently completed:The Red Apple, by Kees Christiaanse (KCAP Architects), is 127m tall.



The new city's tallest, the Maastoren on the southern bank of the river Maas, will be 165m when completed. It is designed by Odile Decq and Dam+Partners and contains office space.



Looking at the northern bank of the Maas



I'm in love with this tower.


The southern banks has seen heavy construction in recent years, and there's no end in sight.











Near Hotel New York, at the end of the Wilhelminapier

Hotel NY, and Montevideo (152m), formerly the city's tallest.




The Wilhelminapier will continue its transformation to one of the densest areas of the Netherlands

No better way to conclude a Rotterdam thread than with a shot of Ben van Berkel's Erasmusbrigde.
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Fine pics as always. I can really see how much has changed in the city in the three years since I've been.

What do you suppose is continuing to fuel the growth?

Is it population growth? A trend toward moving back to the big cities? An expansion of the port economy?

In general, Europe's economy is pretty bad right now, how's NL and Rotterdam doing in particular?
Darkstar: I can think of a few things driving the growth. Overall, the Dutch population is hardly growing. Rotterdam had 731.000 inhabitants in the 1960s at some point, though suburbanization has kept decreasing that number up until a few years ago. We're more or less at 584.000 (2007 data), up from 555.000 in the mid-1980s. So, to some extent people are indeed moving back to the city, even though suburban growth is far bigger (exurbs are litteraly melting together).
Currently the biggest driver of construction would be the fastly-decreasing average household size. People move out earlier, live with their partners less, divorce more often... or are left behind when their partner dies (not uncommon since the largest population segment here are post-WWII baby boomers). This is true for most of Holland.
Also, the harbour is being extended into the North Sea, where tons of acres of land are being reclaimed. This frees up land in the inner city, where former harbour areas like the Wilhelminapier are converted to urban use. The city council is also quite ambitious in its efforts to fill up these areas. Still though, we hardly have the dozens of empty condo's you find in cities like Vegas or Miami. Though I feel we have yet to receive the "punch" of the most recent housing crash. Foreclosures have only recently been picking up speed here, with the last quarter having 15% more foreclosures than the same last year. As far as unemployement is concerned, no American practices of 10+ % unemployement here, the Dutch average is 4.6%, expected to rise to 5.5% by the end of this year. Everything taken together, I feel as if the worst days for construction are yet to come.
When Europeans build skyscrapers, they're kind of dwarflike versions of what Americans from 1939 thought the future would look like (see Potsdamer Platz in Berlin). In a way, they remind me of the 12-inch stonehenge from This is Spinal Tap and in Berlin, at least, they look somewhat ridiculous.

Rotterdam, however, is so unabashedly modern and has such a schizoid cityscape that these bizarre highrises seem to give the place character. I feel the same way about Shanghai's Pudong, only there the skyscrapers are behemoths.
Hipster Duck, it has been said that Potsdammer Platz was eight of the worlds best architects doing their worst job ever. In a few years, 6 million square feet of office and urban space were constructed in what looked like a kind of out-of-touch prestige architecture. Of course Potsdammer Platz was a product of the German tradition of strong govt. authority in city building, involving strict rules on form. Authorities desired a reflection of the minimalist Prussian architectural tradition. The public had to swallow what the experts assumed to be appropriate.
And yeah, the Rotterdam skyline is very spread out indeed, maybe that is what drives designers to make more of a statement with their buildings.
Wow. Stunning. I have long loved the Netherlands-- and what incredible cities you guys have over there.

Thanks for the updates-- they are much appreciated! :)
Thanks for these stunning Rotterdam update pictures!

I lived in Rotterdam in the early 90's and I thought the city was one of the most interesting places to be - certainly from an architectural standpoint it is the most outstanding city in The Netherlands, if not the whole of Europe!

I remember seeing neon elevator shafts on the outside of certain highrises for the first time. At night, it made parts of the city seem incredibly futuristic. Although the Swan was not yet built, the Willemsbrugge was still fairly new and I remember watching fireworks from the bridge as they lit up the night sky against the downtown skyline.

I lived in the east end near Kralingen, so remnants of some older parts of the city were also visible to me. It was a pleasant juxtaposition of older buildings contrasting with ultra-modern architecture. Many times while biking towards downtown on the Maas river bike path, I'd thank the stars that I was having the opportunity to live in such a tremendous city.

It's so refreshing to see that the city has retained its commitment to creative architecture!