Days with the Hollanders – Rotterdam

Holland, our last stop for this restless euro trip. This time we did not have to take an 18 hour over night train to arrive in the another spectacular city. Arriving Thursday evening and departing sunday afternoon. We got about 2 and a half day to hang out with the Dutchers. It was short, but I think we saw the very best of Holland. We had two destination for the trip, one is Amsterdam of course, and the other is Rotterdam. The initial primary reason to visit Rotterdam was because and old friend of Alex is there and she was sweet enough to share her lovely place with us, but oh Rotterdam, you excel everything I’ve expected from you…

Like Berlin, Rotterdam is one of the cities that suffered severed bombardment from the war. Until nowadays, Rotterdam is still under going reconstructions. So this is the land for building and rebuilding! How could I not be overwhelmed already not to mention some of my favorite architects are based in Rotterdam (and you know the rocking dutchitects are one the very best in the buiss).

Our day in Rotterdam was lined with all the buildings that we could see. Walking through the city non-stop, we were trying to get to all the buildings I wanted to see in the agenda but one can only walk so fast and see so much. Of course we couldn’t get to every single one of them on the list, but I was excited and lucky enough to see a lot the the famous building which I would otherwise never be able to witness but only text books and magazines. Well, say no more and lets see some blocks!

Gebouw Delftse Poortby Abe Bonnema. It is impossible to avoid seeing this complex in the area. It’s not only enormous but reflective. The complex is situated on top the underground railway of Rotterdam. Right next to it is the Rotterdam Central Stationwhich is current undergoing drastic transformation.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. An Scandianavian inspired architecture. The major use of material of the building is brick and copper beams.

After buying my ticket, I was surprised by the Merry-Go-Around coat rack by Studio Wieki Somers!  I have read about this coat rack on all the design blog but apparently I did not pay enough attention to remember that is it here in the Museum Boijmans!  I am delighted that I did not only get to see it but experience the brilliant coat rack!

The interior of the museum is very elegant. About 40 years after the museum was very built by A. Van der SteurTwo more exhibition halls were added. So the museum was huge, consisting not only the permanent collection of fine arts and some modern works including the ones of of the master of surrealism Salvador Dali.

An amazing art studio in the museum.

NAI and the Museum Park. NAI – Netherlands Architecture Institute, by Jo Coenen, was simply my very best favorite out of all the things we went. Mainly because it was hosting an amazing exhibition right now call Making City.

The show as an archive of all major urban planning projects around the world on how to improve, transform, and recreate cities and urban life under different conditions. I felt rushed going through the exhibit because we just didn’t have enough time. I would suggest anybody who study or interested in this area, who are also currently IN Rotterdam, go visit this exhibition before it goes out. I am hoping that this show will be going on a tour so I can have the chance to go and again and spend my sweet time in there for the details.

Interior of NAI

NAI was one of the museum in the Museum Park. There are many other awesome ones of course. This Museum Park is so much more exciting to me than the one in Berlin, since it not all about history. Well, in this park, we see history through buildings.

Huis Sonneveld, by J.A. Brinkman and L.C. van der Vlugt. This house is one of the most well-preserved and best representations of Dutch modernist architecture. The architects were commissioned by Sonnevled to build a villa of modern living. It is known to be the ‘most modern’ design of the time. The Huis Sonneveld is a very classy example of the ‘Nieuwe Bouwen‘, the Dutch International School of Modernism.

Chabot Museum, is also a good example of the typical Dutch modernist style. The museum was closed when we were there but pictures of the exterior, for free!

I don’t know anything  about this house. It was in the Museum Park and I liked it.

Ok, let’s get out of the park and move on. Voila, everybody know this yea? Rotterdam’s famous Cubic House by Piet Blom.  As interesting as the original concept of the project (creating a forest by each cube representing an abstract tree) it is surprising to me that there are people actually LIKE to live in these ‘tree houses’.

Het Witte Huis, the white house of Rotterdam,  a 45 metres and 11th stories high office building, designed by W. Molenbroek, was the first skyscraper in Europe!

And the surround areas

These balls on the Rijn Harbour in Rotterdam will become the showcase and centre of expertise for the National Water Centre. Walked by it on our way to dinner.

To proved you that we did actually walke SO MUCH in Rotterdam. I present to you the three bridges we walk crossed.

Willemsbrug, vibrant.

Railway Lifting Bridge De Hef, showcase the pure engineering art and skill.

Finally, the icon, the swan of the city – The Erasmusbrug.

Phew~ what can I say. I enjoyed rotterdam very much simply because the city itself IS an architecture phenomenon. To me it was eye opening.

To be continued… on Days with the Hollanders – Amsterdam.

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