On the Verge / Tim Van den Hoff / 2014
Four simple office blocks rise from an elevated podium, only to be cut in half and shuffled up in the wrong order, like a game of architectural Misfits. The resulting form is of a skyline perched precariously on top of another skyline, each block resting on the shoulder of the next in a staggered huddle. The entire thing is clad in a continuous surface of slender aluminium mullions from top to bottom, which shimmer like silvery corduroy, recalling New York skyscrapers of the 1960s. It could be the twin towers of the World Trade Center, resurrected in a Frankenstein muddle.
For [Rem Koolhaas], De Rotterdam is the culmination of a more personal story. It represents the realisation of a decades-long fixation with the thrilling hyper-density of "Manhattanism", first cultivated in his student manifesto, Delirious New York. At the age of 68, he has finally brought back a contorted slice of that city's vertiginous madness to his home town. There is a sense of nostalgia in his voice as he drops me on the street corner, before driving off to his next appointment. "The weird thing is that this building might look cold or harsh, but we get grandmothers now writing to us saying they like it. Which has never happened before." ➡︎
[…] De Rotterdam is so big that you can see it from afar, from outside Rotterdam, and because it stands in its very centre, your eye is always drawn towards it. It reminds me of Charles Luckman’s 1969 Federal Building on Wilshire in Los Angeles, an equally blank office block with a curtain wall facade that you circle around while driving on nearby freeways. Depending on where you are it constantly changes its appearance, especially at night, when just a few floors are lit here and there. ➡︎