Dynamic Residential Cohesion

Redevelopment of former docklands on Rotterdam's southern banks of River Maas

The Stadstuinen, which translates to City Gardens, in Dutch, is an area of Rotterdam’s Kop van Zuid is a residential enclave that combines the advantages of suburban and urban lifestyles. The apartment buildings of six to eight storeys stand along the perimeter of a garden suburb that mainly consists of ground-accessed dwellings. Many different housing types have been integrated into the residential blocks on the four corners.

The project comprises 15 blocks containing approximately 600 dwellings, some 5.000 m2 of commercial space, a primary school, a variety of outdoor spaces and undercover parking. The apartment com...

  • Stadstuinen CV, Estrade Wonen, Leyten & Partners, Woonzorg Nederland
  • 1996 - 2002
  • Completed
  • 70.000 m2 570 residences with 100 units designed by KCAP, sheltered housing, primary school, commercial, parking facilities and outdoor space
  • Architecture
  • Photography: Ossip van Duivenbode
  • Photography: Rob 't Hart
  • Consultancy: Municipality of Rotterdam
  • Architecture: KV architecten
  • Architecture: De Zwarte Hond
  • Architecture: Molenaar & Van Winden Architecten
  • Nationale Staalprijs, Nomination (2002)
  • Rotterdamse Bouwkwaliteitsprijs, Nomination (2002)
  • A+T, nr. 20, Density II, 2002
  • Architecture in the Netherlands, Yearbook 2001/02
  • The wide variety of housing types is manifest in the galleries, balconies, sun lounges, loggias and winter gardens that have been ‘attached’ to the facades like separate volumes, so that each block projects into the public space with its own particular facade articulation.  

    The ‘Laan op Zuid’ (‘Southern Prospect Lane’) apartments, for example, have sun lounges that offer a view across the port and provide insulation from noise nuisance. Together they form a single, large-scale glazed extension to the block. 

    The ‘Wintertuin’ (‘Winter Garden’) dwellings have loggias that are staggered from floor to floor, with the roof of one serving as a balcony for the apartment above. The ‘Wisselgalerij’ (‘Switching Gallery’) apartments are accessed via galleries that alternate between the east and west sides of the building. 

  • The amenities are sensitively slotted into the neighbourhood. The sheltered housing is located in an elongated block and an urban villa on one of the four corners. The two buildings are interconnected by an atrium which contains the main entrance. The sheltered galleries that give access to the dwellings via individual gangways are set behind a glazed double elevation. There are studio apartments on the ground floor. The primary school is a striking element in the neighbourhood.

  • All the dwellings in this block have glazed loggias that provide the supporting structure for the galleries, making columns unnecessary. The ‘Straat’ (‘Street’) dwellings are ground-accessed houses of four stories, with a void in a two-story glazed bay that connects indoor and outdoor space. The free-standing building draws attention to itself with an unusual use of materials and detailing. The street elevations are faced with textured brick, while wood is the dominant cladding on the square side. Of special note are the two open-air classrooms with wooden balustrades and staircases which open the building up towards the square. The development on the four corners of Stadstuinen lends unity to the neighbourhood. Despite their considerable variations, the blocks exhibit a typological kinship as a result of consistently seeking out an optimum combination of public and semi-public space, and accessibility.

    Traditional objections to the hermetic perimeter block were addressed by making the corners open or transparent wherever possible. Add-on elements such as loggias and galleries were realized in steel, glass and wood. A varied palette of brick types was used for the facades, ranging in colour from purplish black to orange-red in colour, and in texture from smooth to rough and from shiny to matt. The bricks were used in gradually changing combinations that mark the transition from the outer perimeter to the internal area.