Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Architect: Arons en Gelauff Architecten
Project Year: 2006
(Text provided by architect): In 2001, a competition by invitation requested a design for a retirement housing project. The objective of this competition was a design to set a standard of architectural quality for upcoming projects in the ambitious redevelopment of the centre of IJsselmonde, one of Rotterdam’s suburbs. The design for seniors aged 55 and older was inspired by the forthcoming retirement of the hippie generation. The project embraces its target market’s denial of aging by proposing a playful, coloured apartment block. The building is an exciting configuration of a tower and an elevated slab. The slab volume is elevated 11 metres over the water and opens up a spectacular view onto the existing pond from the adjacent pre-existing nursing home.
The minimum footprint of the tower creates space for a garden. The two main volumes consist of apartments with an uninterrupted span of 9m60, allowing for multiple floor plans and adaptability in the future. An inconspicuous elevator shaft connects the new building to the older one, where medical personnel, cooks and other help are available. The façades of the dwellings gain a strong, three-dimensional quality through the wavy balconies. The glazed galleries – set with self-cleaning glass – are smooth but very colourful in over 200 different shades.
Tucked beneath the building, a recreational space in the water is accessible through the garden, paved with asphalt to facilitate wheelchairs and scooters. A recurrent grass theme runs through several parts of the project. The bamboo pattern set in the interior concrete walls, the planting scheme of the garden and even the garden carpet on the floor of the recreational space, all play on this theme.