Rotterdam te huur

Wilhelminaplein te huur

Vacant NL’ was the title of the exhi­bi­tion for the Dutch pavil­ion at the Venice Archi­tec­ture Bien­nale 2010.
The exhi­bi­tion has con­cep­tu­ally sum­ma­rized a research high­light­ing unused and empty pub­lic build­ings all over The Nether­lands, while propos­ing strate­gies for tem­po­rary reuse. After 5 years and two other Bien­nales, the theme of vacant space is still of utmost impor­tance in The Nether­lands. Per­haps, Rot­ter­dam is the most afflicted city due to its post-industrial atti­tude. How­ever, vacant indus­trial spaces are cou­pled by a whole array of empty office build­ings, which spread through­out the city center.

In 2014, Rot­ter­dam was crowned best city in Europe at the Urban­ism Awards and a recent inter­est­ing online arti­cle describes Rotterdam’s post WWII renais­sance (Dafne​.com), while high­light­ing some major issues still affect­ing its urban environment.

Dur­ing an after­noon of the last year, we crossed Rot­ter­dam city cen­ter col­lect­ing a series of pho­tos that clearly tes­ti­fies how much vacant space is out there. Our focus has been mainly on office spaces to rent.

What I have been won­der­ing for some time is, why all (pri­vately owned) empty office spaces are not rented for less?! Why there is no will in fill­ing the space any­ways? An answer may be: cheaper rent means to record a loss of cap­i­tal in a company’s books. Per­haps, an action as such, would under­mine com­pa­nies’ value more than any unpaid rent.

Still, the feel­ing is that Rot­ter­dam has great poten­tial because of all that space at hand, but the ques­tion of how to use it remains. More­over, there are prece­dents of build­ings due to demo­li­tion that have reju­ve­nated after bottom-up pri­vate ini­tia­tives (Schieblock). This kind of approach is in favor of start-ups, small enter­prises and self-employed pro­fes­sion­als, which could be the new Rotterdam’s work­force after the indus­trial demise.

As a last thought, I per­son­ally believe that a place like Rot­ter­dam, equipped with vast empty spaces and build­ings, is the per­fect set­ting to develop a new clus­ter focused on tech­nolo­gies, inno­va­tion and research, which could counter act the har­bor decline. In 2015, sell­ing Rotterdam’s image as the largest har­bor of Europe sounds out­dated. To look at the future, a step for­ward is required and it may break with his­tory, once more.

Rotterdam TE HUUR

Vacant NL on Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordance web­site / Vacant NL Mas­ter / Vacant NL Stu­dio / Book­let Vacant NL, where archi­tec­ture meets ideas

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on Contact

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on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

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on Survey

2015-04-01 13:27:31

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Conrad Newel

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 18:10:56

@Colt Sievers I will be the first to agree with you on all counts. I would love to read that article. If you ever want to publish it on my blogg please do not hesitate to contact me.

Colt Sievers

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 16:58:10

@Conrad having worked in one of those offices that you mention, I have found your post as much provocative as naive and simplistic. I should make an entire post to explain why... will leave that for later. Thanks, anyway, to keep the discussion alive