A glass-and-steel pixelated mountain has risen in the heart of Rotterdam. OMA just completed Timmerhuis, a modular mixed-use building that will house municipal office spaces, residential, retail, parking, and a museum. Designed to be the most sustainable building in the Netherlands, the Timmerhuis includes innovative energy-efficient technologies and is the first and only mixed-use building in the Netherlands to achieve the BREEAM level of excellence, the highest score of sustainability by the Building Research Establishment.
Commissioned by the City of Rotterdam, the 48,400-square-meter, €100-million Timmerhuis was conceived through a public-private partnership and is located adjacent to the existing 1953 municipal building in the city’s Laurenskwartier neighborhood. Half of the building footprint will be dedicated to five floors of office space used exclusively by municipal departments. The offices are sandwiched between a publicly accessible base, comprising cafes, retail space, and a museum, and 84 luxury apartments located at the top of the building.
Made of repeating stacked modules, the contemporary steel-framed Timmerhuis boasts a flexible structural system. The programming of each individual unit, which measures 7.2 meters wide, 7.2 meters deep, and 3.6 meters high, can be changed from, for instance, office space to residential. The cuboid units give the building its pixelated appearance and are stacked at the top to create two irregular peaks.
“Rather than adding yet another grand statement, Timmerhuis attempts a constructive ‘surrender’ to the city’s present state,” said Reinier de Graaf in a statement. “The building’s formless, seemingly improvised composition acts as an echo of the city’s mood. It creates the possibility of different experiences: from the Coolsingel, viewed between the Town Hall and the Post Office, the building appears nearly symmetrical, monumental even… on the other side, in relation to the existing monument, the same building appears delicate and accommodating.”
Timmerhuis achieved the BREEAM level of excellence through its innovative structural system and spatial arrangement. Two large atriums punctuate the building like a pair of lungs and are connected to a “climate system that stores warmth in summer and cold in winter, and releases this energy as warm or cold air as required.” The glacier-like building is sheathed in a triple-glazed curtain wall facade equipped with translucent insulation.
Images via OMA, © Ossip van Duivenbode, Sebastian van Damme