Mixed-use High-rise Residential

A highly varied architectural mass with 231 apartments, shops, restaurants and business spaces

The Red Apple is a mixed-use development which rises 124 m skyward at the head of Rotterdam’s Wijnhaven Island, located between the city centre and the river Maas. The Red Apple is a highly varied architectural mass with 231 apartments, offices, retail and restaurants on a total gross floor area of 35.000 m2.

The Wijnhaven Island occupies a strategic spot within the city. It is being redeveloped using a dynamic transformation model designed by KCAP, which provides development guidelines that ensure a...

  • Havensteder Rotterdam
  • 2002 - 2009
  • Completed
  • 35.000 m2 231 apartments, 1.500 m2 retail and restaurants, 3.800 m2 offices, 340 parking places
  • Architecture
  • Photographer: Ossip van Duivenbode
  • Lifestyle concept: Jan des Bouvrie
  • Rotterdam Architectuurprijs, Nomination (2012)
  • BNA Gebouw van het Jaar, Nomination (2010)
  • International High-rise Award, Nomination (2010)
  • Kleur Buiten Prijs, Nomination (2010)
  • Dutch Architecture Award (2009)
  • Rotterdamse Bouwkwaliteitsprijs, Nomination (2009)
  • CTBUH Award, Nomination (2008)
  • Bringing liveliness

    Interview Han van den Born (former Partner KCAP) in 'Inside Rotterdam Magazine':

    Long before the Red Apple, KCAP was asked to devise an urban plan for the Wijnhaven ('Wine Harbour') Island, a small area nestled between the city centre and the river Maas. Van den Born: “After the war, this island was rebuilt with office buildings that were in need of renovation by the 1990s. It was around that time that the city set out to attract new residents to the centre by adding apartment buildings. Simply tearing these offices down would be wasteful, so Kees Christiaanse (founder of KCAP) and our team came up with a dynamic transformation model with guidelines for the area as a way to combine the old with the new.

  • One of the stipulations is that the maximum built volume can be 22 m3 per m2 of land. This means high-rises are allowed as long as they are slender, preserving sunspots on ground level and views between buildings. We also envisioned a more liveable area with less street parking, promenades along the canals and pedestrian bridges to connect the centre with the waterfront. The plinths were designated for restaurants, shops, galleries and hotel lobbies, adding extra liveliness. It used to be a neglected area, now people are eager to reside here.

  • The southwest corner of the site is occupied by a slender apartment tower with a spacious glazed lobby as ground-floor entrance and live/work loft spaces on top. The levels eight through 40 contain apartments of various sizes. All apartments of the two volumes are diagonally oriented and offer a maximum of transparency via floor-to-ceiling glass and provide extraordinary views.

    Interview Han van den Born (former Partner KCAP) in 'Inside Rotterdam Magazine':

    One of the new residential towers on the island was being developed by a housing corporation and they brought in celebrity architect and interior designer Jan des Bouvrie to work alongside KCAP. Van den Born: “It is quite funny that the building ended up with its red color while Des Bouvrie is widely known for his all-white interiors. It is all because of Willemswerf, a work by architect Wim Quist. This is a white ‘disk’ on the waterfront, casting a shadow over much of the triangular tip of the island. We placed the horizontal tower as westwards as possible so that the lower floors can still look out onto the water past Quist’s building. To really stand out against the white building, a bold gesture was needed."

    "We started with the idea of a ‘Pink Panther’, but everyone understands that a pink building is never going to happen. We ended up with the red vertical and horizontal paneling over full-length windows, tying the two volumes of the complex together. The red effect is created through the use of anodized aluminum, not paint as is often assumed.

  • The Red Apple is accentuated in Rotterdam’s skyline by its ‘red striped’ façade pattern. The tower reveals the red bands as vertical lines which decrease in width towards the top to support its slender appearance. The block building is defined by horizontal layers. The red bands are formed by aluminium panels which gain their colour through anodizing without any other colour treatment. In the tower, they contain the load bearing structure of the façade and adapt in width to the increasing load towards street level.

    The lifestyle concept and interior have been developed in cooperation with designer Jan des Bouvrie. With a great diversity of residences in intimate urban surroundings, The Red Apple satisfies the demands of modern lifestyles.

    The red effect is created through the use of anodised aluminium, not paint as is often assumed.
    Han van den Born, former Partner KCAP
  • Interview Han van den Born (former Partner KCAP) in 'Inside Rotterdam Magazine':

    Over the years, KCAP has become known as a firm specialising in sustainable urban regenerations. Van den Born elaborates: “We interpret ‘sustainable’ not purely in terms of energy efficiency or the use of healthy materials. It is about social sustainability as well. We are about creating urban environments where people want to live long-term, with a mix of functions that creates liveliness day and night. As a resident of the Red Apple, I am surprised by the sense of community we have here: we organise barbecues, take care of each other’s pets and now we’ve saved up money to transform the lobby into a meeting space with Wi-Fi and coffee. On the other hand, city dwelling still offers a sense of anonymity. I think that appeals to a lot of people.”

    "We convinced our client that unobstructed vistas were the main selling point and used an insanely high percentage of glass panes. At the time of construction, a cheaper, better type of solar glass became available, allowing us to create floor to ceiling panes. It also kept the construction budget within limits, which made apartments affordable for middle-income households. For an architect, it is quite simple to design a tower for millionaires, but that does not interest me much. Here at the Red Apple, we created a flexible floor plan with smaller and larger units, making it possible to live on 75 m2 or to combine multiple units for a more spacious flat. This resulted in an interesting mix of residents, from young professionals and empty nesters to expats. It’s interesting to see that expats are more used to apartment living, even when they start families.