Rotterdam-based architecture firm Powerhouse Company has unveiled designs for a unique floating office building to be anchored in the historic Rotterdam port of Rijnhaven. Created as the new headquarters for the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), the contemporary structure will use a wide range of sustainability measures, such as heat exchangers and a green roof, to target energy-neutral, self-sufficient operations. The building, named Floating Office Rotterdam, will also be built entirely from timber.

rendering of floating office building with gabled roof and several trees

Led by former UN-Chairman Ban Ki-moon alongside Microsoft founder Bill Gates and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, the GCA focuses on the mitigation of climate change through technology, planning and investment. Floating Office Rotterdam encapsulates the organization’s values with its sustainable design and will serve as a showcase of pioneering climate-resilient features. The unique building is expected to be opened by the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb during the international Summit on Adaptation in fall 2020.

Related: Carbon-neutral, prefab development targets sustainable urbanism for Rotterdam’s Rijnhaven area

Rendering of floating office building with half a green roof and the other half of the roof covered in solar panels

Floating Office Rotterdam will break ground in spring 2020 at the Van Leeuwen grounds at the Masshaven before it is shipped to the Rijnhaven. Timber will be used as the main construction material to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, while passive solar principles have informed the design to reduce the energy demands. In addition to office space, Floating Office Rotterdam will also include a restaurant with a large outdoor terrace and a floating swimming pool in the Maas River.

rendering of floating office building lit up at night

“Designing a sustainable, floating office building was a very challenging commission, and we approached it in an integrated way,” said Nanne de Ru, architect and founder of Powerhouse Company. “By using the water of the Rijnhaven to cool the building, and by using the roof of the office as a large energy source, the building is truly autarkic. The building structure is designed in wood; it can easily be demounted and reused. The building is ready for the circular economy.”

+ Powerhouse Company

Photography by Plomp and Atchain via Powerhouse Company