Masterplan für Rotterdam (Bild: ATCHAIN)
#city planning

A master plan for Rotterdam

The old harbour district Katendrecht has long since morphed into the trendy quarter of Rotterdam. And soon it will be one gem richer: the master plan by Powerhouse Company is transforming the site of the historic Codrico factory into a sparkling mix of old and new.

If these alleyways could speak, they would have much to tell: about the time when shipping and industry reigned supreme over their part of Rotterdam, about their time as “Chinatown”, when they bustled with mostly Chinese immigrants, sailors and sex workers, or about the recent past, when the Katendrecht harbour district was modernized and became a buzzing area with bars, restaurants and things to do.

Old terrain, new attraction

The post-industrial vintage chic in this district of Rotterdam has a very special charm. And now this paradise for culture and foodies on the waterfront is gaining another attraction: the site of the historic Codrico factory is being spruced up to become an exciting mix of old and new.

Redevelopment of Codrico site in Rotterdam
Big plans: the Codrico site in Rotterdam’s harbour district is being revamped.

The master plan for this mega-project in Rotterdam’s harbour was designed by Powerhouse Company. These renowned architects are treating the industrial heritage with great care, while at the same time leading it towards an exciting future. The Codrico factory building is still a protected historical monument and is seen as a symbol of Dutch history. With its rooftop cube that glows green at night, it is a striking element of the skyline.

Off to new shores

The approximately 1.8-hectare site is located in the Rijnhaven area. This is the harbour basin that was added to Rotterdam’s existing port facilities in around 1920 to align the city’s harbour capacity with the turnover of goods. Times have changed greatly, and Codrico’s production has moved elsewhere as well. This has prompted clearance for refurbishment of the old company site in Katendrecht. Space is being created for approximately 1,500 new rented and owned apartments, half of them in an “affordable” price range. And that is not nearly everything.

Redevelopment of Codrico site by Powerhouse Company
An exciting model: this is how Powerhouse Company envisions the future of the Codrico site.

In the future, the “Codrico Terrain” will be accessible by everyone in Rotterdam. As a lively assembly of offices, shops, restaurants and culture, this mixed-use development encompasses a total of 190,000 m2. The Powerhouse Company architects have designed an iconic ensemble: the new city quarter will be defined by a tower, a building on the quay, a striking structure adjacent to the factory, and the monumental industrial construction itself.

Everyone in Rotterdam knows the Codrico site. In its essence, it forms the soul of Katendrecht and has inspired us enormously. It’s great that this unique area is finally becoming publicly accessible.

Nanne de Ru, architect and founder of Powerhouse Company and RED Company

Floating parks will breathe new life into the quays. They are planned for both the Wilhelminapier side as well as that of the Codrico Terrain. The Rijnhaven Bridge will complete the pedestrian loop around the harbour. Thus, in future people in Rotterdam will be able to stroll along all the quays of the Rijnhaven.

View of Codrico Terrain from over the water

Codrico Terrain at street level

This planned vision for the future was developed jointly between Powerhouse Company and the Rotterdam-based real estate developer RED Company. The architects also designed the building on the quay. Its outstanding variations in form and volume reflect the industrial architecture of the Codrico complex. The unusually shaped residential complex named the “Fonda”, located directly adjacent to the factory, was designed by Powerhouse Company.

A top-class team for Rotterdam

In addition to the master planners, however, other notable firms will also shape the face of this city quarter. The 220-meter-high tower was designed by the New York studio SHoP Architects, for example. Their design for the residential high-rise pays homage to the first Hugh Ferriss generation of New York skyscrapers. Thus, it also recalls the era when countless emigrants set sail from Katendrecht for America.

Aerial view of Codrico Terrain

The fact that Rotterdam values and cares for the beautiful inheritance of its past can be clearly seen in its already revitalized areas. Brick structures and former warehouses in the harbour district have been preserved and underscore Katendrecht’s unique character. This new large-scale project will proceed very carefully as well, particularly as the factory building is already part of the country’s cultural heritage. With this in mind, Office Winhov – the Dutch company entrusted with its refurbishment – is cooperating closely with the architectural historians from Crimson Historians & Urbanists.

From factory to dream home

The venerable structure will be completely renovated, and its large silos rebuilt as residences. Delva Landscape Architects & Urbanism is responsible for the design of the outdoor facilities, parks and quays.

Master plan for Rotterdam

The Maritime Center Rotterdam is a further attraction being created within the project. Designed by Rotterdam architect Francine Houben and the Mecanoo architectural firm, it will be located in the middle of the water in the Rijnhaven. This spectacular new structure will bring together the triple helix of the international maritime world: past, present and future.

On, in and under the water

The Center is intended to become a hotspot for maritime entrepreneurs, researchers and culture. Built partially below the surface of the water, it is also certain to attract visitors and will be open to the public.

Maritime Center Rotterdam

Following the board’s approval of the visionary master plan, RED Company will develop the draft further in cooperation with the architects. Local stakeholders and citizens will also be involved in this process. The project is seen as a giant step towards the complete revitalization of the Katendrecht district. It is intended to make Rotterdam’s Rijnhaven the new city attraction of the 21st century. Dates for the start of construction and projected completion have yet to be announced.

Visionary ideas for and from Rotterdam

The internationally active Powerhouse Company team has its own headquarters in Rotterdam. This multidisciplinary office has received multiple distinctions, from the Dutch Design Award to the Maaskant Prize. The architects are also known for unusual concepts. Their “Loop of Wisdom” in China, their floating office building constructed out of wood and their designs for UBER Skyports are current attractions, for instance.

Codrico Terrain

The list of Powerhouse Company partners who are now contributing to the success of the Codrico Terrain project is as dazzling as it is long. In addition to those firms already mentioned here, it includes George & Harrison, Build in Amsterdam, Anne van der Zwaag and Mees Ruimte & Milieu.

This cooperation with numerous specialists in different disciplines promises to deliver a brilliant outcome. And so the old alleyways of Rotterdam’s Katendrecht quarter are leading towards a new and even more exciting future – with a shiny new look that does credit to their eventful past.

Text: Elisabeth Schneyder
Translation: Rosemary Bridger-Lippe
Images: Powerhouse Company, Filippo Bolognese, ATCHAIN, Plomp