Art as a City: Rotterdam

Rotterdam is unlike any other city in the Netherlands. As the city was completely destroyed during WWII, the Dutch chose to rebuild everything in a modern way. The result is quite striking: extremely tall buildings on the low lands.

The image of Rotterdam today is industrial and contemporary. While some of the buildings are just modern and tall, some do represent a different story of contemporary architecture. At this point, it becomes all subjective whether you like it or not. Personally, I find these examples quite alluring.

1. Cube Houses

After the Erasmus Bridge, the Cube Houses are probably the most well-known buildings of Rotterdam. Constructed by Piet Blom in the late 70’s, these buildings are tilted 45 degrees.

Cube Houses

While there are 38 of them in total, the buildings are located near the Blaak station, namely very much in the city center. Contrary to their looks, the interiors of the cubic houses are perfectly normal. In fact, 37 of them are occupied with residents while just one cubic house is open to visitors.

Creating a cubic village in the city, the buildings represent a beautiful illustration of contemporary architecture.

2. Het Potlood

Het Potlood means the pencil in Dutch. By the name, you can already imagine how the building looks like.

Located just nearby the Cube Houses, this residential tower was completed in 1984. Again designed by Piet Blom, the tower has 15 floors. It must be an experience to live in a building with the shape of a pencil trying to reach the sky.

3. Markthal

Markthal is a large building of residences and offices with a market hall just underneath. Designed by the architectural firm MDVM, the construction of Markthal took place between 2009 and 2014. In October 2014, it was already open.

I am totally in love with Markthal, and the reason is quite obvious. The inside of the building is painted with the artworks of Arno Coenen displaying fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds and flowers. The artworks bring in an extremely beautiful and soft touch to the modern design of the building.


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