Rotterdam Rooftop Days. Irma van Oort on urban positioning of high-rise buildings

There have been several expert events in preparation for the Rotterdam Rooftop Days (Rotterdamse Dakendagen) that will take place 4-6 June. Irma van Oort, architect and partner at KCAP, has been invited for the expert session 3 on “Urban positioning of high-rise buildings”, looking into how the city’s vision on high-rise has shifted in the past 20 years. It was moderated by Sophie Stravens, Léon van Geest (Rotterdamse Dakendagen) and Emiel Arends, of the municipality of Rotterdam.

Irma underlined in her presentation that if high-rise is seen as a solution for densification, especially around transport hubs, it requires human focus to make the city liveable. High-rise increases the complexity of the logistics of mixed uses and the desire to offer high-quality public and green spaces. To accomplish this and to ensure liveliness and social vibrance now and in the future, she states that we need a general vision in terms of city-node neighbourhood development.

Together with the other experts (Anjelica Cicilia of Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance, Ellen van Bueren of TU Delft Gebiedsontwikkeling, Erik Faber of Fakton, Jeroen Zuidgeest of Studio for new realities, Maarten Janssen of Amvest, Martin Aarts of Setting-the-stage, and Vincent Taapken of New Industry Development), they talked about how to make sure that “every building will become a new place in the city”.

Five fundamental approaches to optimise high-rise positioning were concluded. These are strategic and flexible programming of the plinths (1), the city infrastructure to make the vision for mixed living feasible (2), the consideration of different scales and layers of connections (3), the shift from pure density to intensity to expand the conception of liveability (4), and liveliness and the attention to the context and area (5). What kind of programmes are needed to make the space unique, and whose responsibility is it to identify and build on this? Those and other questions were discussed in the session.

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