Helen Morgan

Rotterdam's Cube Houses Look Like They're About to Topple Over!

by , 09/13/14
filed under: Architecture, Urban design

cube house, piet blom, rotterdam cubic house, woonwoud, sustainable design, green architecture, eco design, living roofs

They may look like they’re about to topple over, but these cube-shaped houses actually form a small village within the city center of Rotterdam, NL. A modern concept designed by the late architect Piet Blom, and constructed in 1984, this spectacular set of buildings represents an urban forest where around 40 traditional houses are tilted at 45-degrees to rest on a hexagonal pylon. The innovative design transforms the idea of the traditional structure by playing with angles and convention.


cube house, piet blom, rotterdam cubic house, woonwoud, sustainable design, green architecture, eco design, living roofs

These buildings were the first cubic houses in Holland, a country better known for its beautiful spindly buildings that tower above passers-by. The concept behind Blom’s unusual design was to create a living roof in which people could have sufficient space in an area of high density housing.

After three test versions the “woonwoud” (living woods) were finally built in the area of Helmond, arranged around the Theater ‘t Speelhuis. Now one of the houses remains unoccupied so that visitors can take a look and get a feel for the unconventional use of interior space.

+ Piet Blom

Via Holland

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1 Comment

  1. Airshipper May 29, 2012 at 8:08 am

    While it’s nice that they’ve wanted to “break” with conventionality and all that, the end result is something that doesn’t feel all that great when walking around it. I actually live pretty close-by the Rotterdam Cube houses and my personal experience of them is that the entire complex doesn’t feel too good. Sure, it’s “novel”, but what’s the net worth of novelty if what you’re feeling is constant anxiety and dread? Luckily for Helmond, the complex is built in a calmer environment which lessens the overall negative vibe to a certain degree. In Rotterdam the complex is a lot more…brutal. Can you imagine walking around those buildings, with the top cubes looming ominously over you like that? Brrr, no thank you. I’m all for novelty and sculpturality, but first and foremost it has to FEEL good.

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