Rotterdam: “The unpolished and proud city on the river Maas with a sober and decisive mentality”. This unique city is known for multiple faces. On the one hand a modern and high rise filled harbour city with international allure. On the other a composition of raw urban districts whom are build up from passionate entrepreneurship and passion for the city.

Location Rotterdam Size 155.000 m²

Program Commercial, Residential, Social

Year 2019

Status Competition

The neighbourhood Agniesebuurt is such a raw and unpolished area. If you enter the neighbourhood from downtown or the Rotterdam Central District via the yellow Luchtsingel towards the district Oude Noorden you will find yourself in the connector between postwar pragmatism and the pre war romanticism of the Oude Noorden. At the former station Hofplein starts a chain of interesting places that connect downtown Rotterdam with the northern district. The former Hofpleinlijn and her Hofbogen, the striking Katshoek van H.A. Maaskant and the green ribbon Noordsingel characterize the area. In the middle of these areas is quite possible the most interesting place in the Agniesebuurt: The Zomerhofkwartier. A zone that after the war was proposed as a location for the industry of the old city center. A zone that has, by her ‘Citizens’ been nicknamed ZOHO: A experimental and involved part of the neighbourhood where nothing is what it seems to be.

In between the framework of postwar architecture flows the energy of “Stadmakers”, people who see chances and who will not let themselves be framed. The old buildings in ZOHO are used as canvas for grandiose artworks, a garage is a printclub, an old train-unit a restaurant and a by building fire contaminated plot came to flourish with a collective vegetable garden. It is the ZOHO-Citizens who give this place real meaning. The ZOHO-Citizens are the pioneers of the area. Their hard work and the space that was provided by Havensteder make this location unique. The citizens made ZOHO into a new Rotterdam icon by making ZOHO an international example of Slow Urbanism. Not the type of icon that gets a place in the skyline but an icon of social, economical and ecological aspects that are inseparably connected.

The innovative way of city making and the collective feeling of ownership made that the past few years a space with a unique identity in Rotterdam and outside of the city arose. For us this is fascinating, better yet it inspires us to create an challenging vision that not only builds on the existing structure but tries to put as much next to the original buildings so that the authenticity of the area will remain. ZOHO will stay the energetic, inspiring and socially sustainable space in Rotterdam. Where stimulating of encounters, local economy and personal growth will remain the core principles. We embrace the ZOHO principles, experimental - engaged - mixed - sustainable - connecting, to create a concept in which these core values are being expressed.. A area will develop that can grow in time with the changing needs of the neighbourhood and the city. ZOHO will, because of these core values, not become the next one sided and build without looking at context development. But will keep its authenticity that originates from the temporarity. To come to this “permanent temporarity” we made a plan that gives special and programmatic frameworks that can be further filled in and strengthened by old and new ‘Citizens’. We call this ‘The Magic in Between’

The city is never finished. Programmatic changes, transforming buildings and people come and go. In ZOHO we embrace this temporarity, this is in the DNA of the location: Raw and flourishing. The space where ‘things’ arise that you cannot design , where pride and involvement unite people. To make sure that the process is structured we formulated a series of fundamental strategies. They will give grip in the development of ZOHO and The Magic in Between.

DIALOG: By developing ZOHO over time and start immediately with building we can play with needs and wishes of that moment.

CONNECTING AND INTEGRATING: By properly connecting ZOHO with the Agniesebuurt, the district Oude Noorden and Pompenburg the area will get a change to transform from a introvert enclave to a inclusive and inviting neighborhood.

ALLURE: By adding qualitative and publicly accessible spaces with an appealing program on strategic corners (sticky corners) it with get a allure for the surrounding neighbourhood.

KEEPING THE ESSENCE: to be able to build on, on the pre build qualities the essence of ZOHO is carefully mapped. Because of this we know which buildings and structures can remain. The Yellow building, the Blue building and the Glass Building form the base of the remaining structures.

FLEXIBLE GRID: The three dimensional grid inspired by the construction of a warehouse gives space to a variety of programm and possible programm change in time.

ROBUST MASTERPLAN: Make a subtle and robust master plan in which the program can keep on transforming over time. The product of this proposal is but a start and will have to be further developed with all stakeholders.

INNOVATIVE AND SUSTAINABLE: by , for example, using roofs and public space in a smart way, we can create a green network that is on one hand based on laws of nature and on the other on innovative new ways stores water.

INTEGRAL MOBILITY: by creating integral solutions for the mobility questions and necessities we can create a lot of userease and special opportunities.

“The magic in between”

Team Renske van der Stoep, Georges Taminiau, Rêve Deijkers, Ehab al Hindi, Nino Vogels

Partners COBE, Groosman, Buro Harro, Drift, Overmorgen, Skonk, IMd Raadgevend Ingenieurs

Client Kondor Wessels Projecten, Waaijer Projectrealisatie