The B’ Tower, located in the centre of Rotterdam, is composed of three distinct volumes of retail and residential program, and is situated right next to Marcel Breuer’s 1955 ‘Bijkenkorf’ department store. Standing at a height of 70 m, its plinth includes retail while its upper volumes are composed out of 54 studios and 24 larger sized apartments, respectively. The city of Rotterdam mandated in the mid-1990s that a portion of newly built structures in its centre incorporate housing; the B’ Tower is one of the first of these buildings, seeking to impart and sustain an urban vibrancy within this rapidly restructuring district.
Adjacently sited to a pedestrian promenade, the tower’s retail and lobby are accessed by foot, while its residential program provides additional entry options for automobiles and bicyclists. Specially designated elevators enable this automobile entry, which rise four stories to an elevated park that offers direct access to the building’s upper lobbies. This two-levels and 64 space car park allows for views onto the city’s surroundings through the transparent element glazing.
Foreseeing a possible future conversion of use, the tower was developed so as to allow for the transformation of its residential units, which currently function as short stay apartments, into cooperative housing. The ground floor retail space is multi-storied in height, opening up to the adjacent pedestrian promenade, and columns within each corner of the tower allow for completely flush glazing and a maximum of flexibility. The top residential volumes feature generously sized balconies, providing the tower’s residents with outdoor space sheltered behind a 1.40m glass balustrade.
A collectively balanced heating and cooling system is embedded within each floor slab, together with electrical and IT solutions, regulating the flow of ventilation at all times. Energy for heating is circulated throughout each slab by way of the area’s central ‘district heating’ system, while cooling is collectively created within a central device before its distribution. This holistic approach to the interior climate allowed for the seamless integration of the heating, cooling, electrical, and IT components, which service the tower’s environmental needs. Covering both the roof of the retail space and the top of the tower are areas of green vegetation partly accessible for residents.
Interior living spaces are outfitted with kitchens designed in collaboration with Alessi, Miele and Valcucine and with residential furnishings mostly produced by Lensvelt. All bathrooms are equipped with products by Alessi, Laufen, and Oras.
Location : Hennekijnstraat 100, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Client : MAB Bouwfonds
Program: Housing, Retail
Area : 15.000 m2
Budget: 18.500.000 euro
Status: Completed in 2013
Project Team: Wiel Arets, Bettina Kraus, Carsten Hilgendorf, Joris van den Hoogen
Collaborators : Kam Bava, David Luque, Marie Morin, Deniza Radulova, Sash Reading, Jasper Stevens, Michal Switalski, Cindy Wouters, Aynav Ziv
Consultants: Ingenieursbureau Zonneveld BV, Valstar Simonis Raadgevende Ingenieurs BV, Cauberg Huygen Raadgevende Ingenieurs BV
Carsten Hilgendorf contributed to this project as project architect at WAA controlling the process from Preliminary Design to Construction.