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Mozaïek aan de Maas

Culture Campus in Rotterdam
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View into the Mozaïek aan de Maas

Mozaïek aan de Maas is a concept study for Culture Campus site in Rotterdam commissioned by Gemeente Rotterdam in 2021. This location at the Charloisse Hoofd will be soon transformed into the city’s hotspot with education, culture and tourism intertwined and creating vibrant, mixed environment along the Maas river. The ambition is to initiate a formation of an experimental place, which can become a lasting icon of Rotterdam South.

Mozaïek an de Maas project is creating a framework for the future development of the site. Spatial concept of the mosaic offers a possibility of creating a unique place in the city — a place with a strong identity, history and a big diversity of spaces and activities attracting different users. In our vision Culture Campus becomes an integrated part of the city with its network of green spaces and public passages going through the site.

Commissioned concept study

Date: 2021

Client: Gemeente Rotterdam

Project created together with:
Jens Jorritsma (OBSCURA)
Maciej Wieczorkowski (Dividual)

Site’s identity

Already from the distance the location strikes as an unusual assembly of different elements: from historic brick buildings, metal sheds and fences to huge industrial halls and containers. Visible immediately after existing Maastunnel, Yellow Nelcon crane is a characteristic element and an landmark of the site.

The halls themselves create an interconnected system — their lightweight structures allow for openings and passages in between buildings. Where not completely open, shared facades are imprinted on the neighbouring building, showing the shape of the adjacent hall.

Warehouses are built next to each other in a cellular system and are sometimes created by later additions. Similar inside — outside ambiguities are part of the site’s charm and its uniqueness. The spatial characteristics of the Van Leeuwen recycling halls are unique even for the industrial locations.

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Site photos – Van Leeuwen halls

Flexible strategy for the future

Existing warehouses were added over time, not as traditional buildings blocks, but directly next to each other, expanding the space when needed.

We propose to continue this logic of the location and transform the mono-functional industrial site into a diverse multi-use public Culture Campus. The existing halls work as spatial containers for different activities — whether open or closed.

The idea is to add on to the existing ensemble over time and to develop more interconnected spaces — clearly defined platforms for future activities.

These old and new rooms form a mosaic of different functions, buildings and public spaces, which can allow for a certain degree of flexibility and organic growth, while at the same time being clearly defined already in the early phases of the development.

This strategy provides a spatial framework that uses the existing potential of the flexible typologies and the site’s identity and offers one strong binding idea for the future developments that could accommodate a variety of different functions and activities.

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The illustration of the main idea: transforming mono-functional industrial site into multi-use mosaic of
various indoor and outdoor spaces with clear identities and flexible spatial conditions.

Embedding in the surroundings

Mosaic proposal is a network of spaces embedded in its surroundings. To make sure that the site is accessible, we propose several connections to the neighbourhood — from the side of the Maastunnel entrance, water route of Maashaven, as well as Charlois. Our mosaic plan allows for the Maastunnel park to expand, bringing back the historical axis of the Ponserpad and strengthening the relation between the neighbourhood and the water edge. Network of green spaces of various sizes and characters is continuing throughout the site linking Maastunnel park and Karel de Stouteplein. New developments build up a healthy environment and provide a series of high-quality outdoor spaces to the local residents.

There are two groups of main connections: perpendicular and parallel to the water edge. The first group consists of see-through visual and physical passages between Charlois and Maas River. While creating direct relations between the neighbourhood and the waterfront, they invite visitors from both directions to visit and experience the other location. These pedestrian alleys are filled with greenery and rows of trees. They are not empty corridors, but long and lively front rooms connecting many various adjacent functions. Open and green Nellenhal can become one of these perpendicular connections.

The parallel axes create 4 different connections with various functions and characteristics. Along the water site there is irregular Rondje Maas with a series of recreational spaces and functions continuing all around the Maashaven bay. Main axis of the project (Haartlijn) leads to the central square — the heart of the development. Inner passage through various squares and halls (Mozaïekkroute) creates a continuous pedestrian route accessible from the side of the Maastunnel park. Wide and open Dokplein — a square along the Doklaan road offers a buffer zone and enough space for pedestrians and greenery to create an enjoyable boulevard that could host a variety of functions for both residents and tourists.

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Various see-through connections between Charlois neighbourhood and Maashaven waterfront.
Series of pedestrian connections leading throughout the project site and filled with various activities
and programs.

Future connections to the neighbourhood
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Conradhal – huiskamer and the main square of the Mosaic
Grotehal – the main exhibition and event space
Nellenhal – green passage through the site

Mosaic of functions and structures

We propose to create main zones with different themes: Relax and Play connected to the park (with green spaces and sport fields); Expose and Experience at the entrance from the Maastunnel (with big event space); Learn and Live at the extension of the Charlois streets (with music classrooms and student housing); Display and Inspire in the Grote Hall and its extension towards the water (with big indoor and outdoor exposition space); Food and Recreation in Conradhal and adjacent smaller halls (with foodhallen and main square); Meet and Enjoy at the waterfront (with a student housing, green spaces and meeting rooms); Create and Innovate on the right edge of the project site (with classrooms, library, labs and workshops).

The main concentrations of activities provide amenities to support certain functions. These zones do not prevent functions from mixing further on the site, their boundaries are not strict — they overlap with adjacent zones, sharing spaces and facilities and creating interconnected networks of functions.

Frameworks of functions and connections organize the final plan, where all functions come together around a series of diverse public connections and green spaces. The mosaic of outdoor spaces is defined not only by the buildings and their facades, but with the help of various multi-functional structures: from the sitting edges, outdoor stages, roof supports to the external exhibition walls.

 They have practical functions too: from the sitting edges, outdoor stages, roof supports to the external exhibition walls. Thanks to them, the functions inside the buildings can easily extend into the outdoor spaces. Colorful pavings with various patterns are used to define different parts of the mosaic and energize the site. Big diversity of users and activities is expressed with the richness of elements, colors and materials. The idea of the mosaic extending throughout the entire site with its rooms as spatial containers for different activities is strengthened by this experimental and non-standard use of architectural elements.

Overlapping zones of different functions on the site — while creating main concentrations of certain
themes, they allow for functions to mix further, share facilities and interact with each other.

Culture Campus 2027 floorplan

A new destination in the city

Spatial concept of the mosaic offers a possibility of creating a unique place in the city — a place with a strong identity, history and a big diversity of spaces and activities attracting different users. Mozaïek aan de Maas can become an icon of Rotterdam — not in traditional understanding of this term, by placing there a tall building of specific shape, but by creating a one-of-a kind urban plan, allowing for new types of interactions and experiments.

In this proposal architecture follows the main urban concept. Every building becomes a part of mosaic with its unique and experimental typology, strong connections with the outdoor spaces and redefined relationships with other buildings. We imagine Culture Campus as a collection of rooms and spaces that can be shared and used by different organizations depending on the needs.

There is enough room for local residents and tourists — the site can become a mix of various events of different sizes, networks of different organizations from local artists to national and international festivals. With smart schedules we can ensure that the site always stays active and is used to its full potential.