Transformation of a vehicular space
Rotterdam has always been known as a modern car-friendly city, with large buildings and busy traffic arteries. It was not a city to wander through or relax at a pavement café. But much has changed in recent years. Rotterdam is now positively hip. This rehabilitation has much to do with the high quality of new developments in the city; the public realm has also undergone a rigorous upgrade, and OKRA has played a significant part in that. In 2007, OKRA developed a vision for the public realm. This vision is called Connected City, and its aim is to make the city’s streets, squares and quaysides more pleasant and at the same time to make the city more climate-resilient and healthier.
The renovation of the Binnenrotte is the most recently completed project in the Connected City vision document. It is an important part of Rotterdam as the city first grew around this – now filled in – stretch of the river Rotte. Since the dismantling of the railway line at the beginning of the 1990s, it has been the site of a bustling fresh produce market each week, but the unbroken ranks of stalls created a barrier in the neighbourhood, as did the long and empty paved area on the days when there was no market.
Connection with the city
The wish of the municipality was to make the square a lively part of the city that is well connected to its surroundings and that the square is also a pleasant place to stay when there is no market. Anyone who hasn’t been to Rotterdam for a long time will hardly recognise the Binnenrotte. The square has been completely rebuilt. In the new lay-out, the side paths between the stands connect to the side streets of the Binnenrotte and in this way, the market is more connected to the city.
A pleasant place to stay
The Binnenrotte has become a lively square with lots of greenery, paving contrasts and even a waterfall. The greenery plays an important role on the renovated square; there are three fan-shaped areas with trees and large elevated green spaces with a diverse assortment so that the square has something to offer every season. In front of the Laurens Church is a sunbathing lawn with a waterfall, the showpiece on the square. It makes sure that visitors can and want to stay here pleasantly. Also remarkable is the natural stone strip, ‘the strip of Möbius’, which lies in the middle of the pavement along the full length of the square. OKRA designed it together with artist Jeroen Doorenweerd.
Other designers involved in the design of landscape (if any): DS+V, Rots Maatwerk
Project location: Binnenrotte, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Design year: 2014-2016
Year Built: 2018