Architecture: OMA.
Partner in charge: Reinier de Graaf.
Associate in charge: Alex de Jong, Katrien van Dijk.
Year: 2009-2015.
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Client: Stadsontwikkeling Rotterdam.
Contractor: Heijmans.
Photographs: Sebastian van Damme and Ossip van Duivenbode.

For Rotterdam’s Timmerhuis, a new building for the city hall that accommodates municipal services, offices, and residential units, OMA conceived a modular building with repeated units gradually set back from the street as they rise into two irregular peaks.


The building’s composition of smaller cells creates an impressive, complex form when viewed from Coolsingel, one of Rotterdam’s main arteries, and allows for subtlety and adaptability as the new building meets the Stadstimmerhuis (a municipal building, from 1953), which surrounds it on two sides.


The Timmerhuis’s innovative structural system generates maximum efficiency and versatility both in construction and in program: units can adapt to either office space or residential parameters as desired. Green terraces on higher levels provide the possibility of an apartment with a garden in the heart of urban Rotterdam. On the street level, the structure allows for generous open space, with modules overhanging rather than encroaching into an interstitial area, encouraging an active and open engagement between the Timmerhuis and the city.


Model Frame




The design brief stipulated that the Timmerhuis must be the most sustainable building in the Netherlands. OMA tackled this imperative through the building’s core concept of flexibility, and also through the two large atriums, which act like lungs. They are connected to a climate system that stores warmth in summer and cold in winter and releases this energy as warm or cold air as required. The building’s triple glazed curtain wall facade uses hi-tech translucent insulation that allows for unprecedented energy efficiency.


Rather than being yet another statement in Rotterdam’s crowded history of revisionist planning and cacophony of architectural styles, the ambiguous mass of the Timmerhuis tries to mediate between the existing buildings surrounding it. The axis between the existing town hall and the post office coincides with the axis of symmetry of the Timmerhuis, and the street between these two buildings continues into a passageway to the Haagseveer. The Timmerhuis integrates with the neighboring Stadtimmerhuis by maintaining the same floor heights, while the plinth height of 20m conforms to the character of the surrounding Laurenskwartier.


Budget: approx. €100 million.
Site: 0.5 hectares - including the old Stadstimmerhuis; opposite of Rotterdam City Hall.
Program: Office (25 400m2; both existing and new part of the building), Residential (12 000m2; 84 apartments), Exhibition Space (1 630m2), Retail (2 070m2), Underground Parking (3 900 m2; 120 places).
Building Height: 60m; 14 storeys in the North Tower and 11 storeys in the South Tower.
Dimensions of ‘pixel’: 7.2m x 7.2m x 3.6m (w x b x h).
Construction: Steel frame; 3 850 tonnes of construction steel; 14 000 m2 of glass; cantilevers up to 21m.
BREEAM**** Excellent Sustainability Certification.
Competition Phase
Partner in charge: Reinier de Graaf, Rem Koolhaas.
Project leader: Mark Veldman.
Team: Pascual Bernad de Castro, Vilhelm Christensen, Alessandro De Santis, Katrien van Dijk, Jake Sadler Forster, David Gianotten, Andrea Giannotti, Alasdair Graham, Mendel Robbers, Dirk Peters, Tsuyoshi Nakamoto, Timur Shabaev, Yuri Suzuki, Milos Zivkovic.
Schematic Design
Partner in charge: Reinier de Graaf.
Associate in charge: Alex de Jong.
Project leader: Mark Veldman.
Team: Philippe Braun, Tom Tang, Andrew Linn, Peter Rieff.
Preliminary Design (Core & shell and interiors offices)
Partner in charge: Reinier de Graaf.
Associate in charge: Alex de Jong.
Team: Philippe Braun, Clarisa Garcia Fresco, Maaike Hawinkels, Takeshi Murakuni, Ross O'Connell, Mafalda Rangel, Peter Rieff, Carolien Schippers, Saskia Simon, Sakine Dicle Uzunyayla, Lucia Zamponi, Grisha Zotov.
Design Development (Core & shell and interiors offices)
Partner in charge: Reinier de Graaf Associate in charge: Alex de Jong.
Project architect: Cock Peterse.
Team: Philippe Braun, Jorge Campos, Elle Gerdeman, Sebastian Janusz, Debora Mateo,Elida Mosquera, Sarah Moylan, Vitor Oliveira, Ryan Peeters, Mafalda Rangel, Peter Rieff, Carolien Schippers, Saskia Simon.
Construction Documents (Core & shell and interiors offices)
Partner in charge: Reinier de Graaf.
Associate in charge: Alex de Jong, Katrien van Dijk.
Project architect: Cock Peterse.
Team: Philippe Braun, Vitor Oliveira, Mafalda Rangel, Peter Rieff, Elida Mosquera, Magdalena Stanescu.
Project Architect: Saskia Simon, Katrien van Dijk.
Team: Maaike Hawinkels, Sebastian Janusz, Sarah Moylan, Ross O'Connell, Vitor Oliveira, Ryan Peeters, Mafalda Rangel, Deborah Richmond, Magdalena Stanescu, Lucia Zamponi.
Competition Collaborators
Engineering, structural and installations: ABT.
Sustainability consultants: Werner Sobek Green Technologies.
Cost consultants: PRC.
Model photography: Frans Parthesius.
Post-Competition Collaborators
Local architect, cost consultant: ABT.
Process management: Brinkgroep BV.
Structural engineer: Pieters Bouwtechniek.
MEP engineer: Deerns Raadgevende Ingenieurs.
Sustainability, building physics, acoustics, fire consultant, security: DGMR Bouw.
Service engineers: Deerns, Burgers Ergon.
Facades: Scheldbouw, Rollecate.
Interior contractor: Keijsers Lundiform.
Contractor: Heijmans.