The Rotterdam Architecture City tour, as part of activities during the DIVERCITIES: Governing Urban Diversity Conference, took place on a grey and wet Wednesday afternoon 8 February 2017 running for just over two hours. Twenty-nine people joined the tour, which was led by a retired archictect who provided detailed information with relish.
The guide presented an intriguing history of the city during the bus tour, which started off with a trip along a diverse street from the old part of the city inhabited by Chinese, Koreans and other nationalities. The neighborhood features a variety of international restaurants.
Historically, the guide told a story about the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940 by the German air force during World War II and how the city overcame the event. He went further back in time making reference to the river being opened to the sea, which saw the city of Rotterdam grow due to the attraction of labour to work in the harbour.
Rotterdam’s building stock is diverse, with old building scattered between new ones around the city and newly built areas following the war. Modern buildings, many daring in form and scale when compared to other Dutch cities, include the Medical Faculty and Erasmus University, touristic places such as the Euromast Tower, Kubus (cube houses near Rotterdam Blaak) and the newly opened Market Hall.
Elsewhere, we saw a school that has been transformed into a mosque, a church where Jews were hidden during World War II on Randweg, alternative supermarkets in the Katendrecht area, the old harbor with new housing on the Oud Delftshaven, and Kralingse Bos, which is the largest park in Rotterdam.
The tour closed with Wilhelminapier, an abandoned harbour area that has been renovated with buildings designed by famous architects including Alvaro Siza, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas and Renzo Piano with the famous New York Hotel as a neighbour.
We’ve included some images below. Thank you to Luiza Moreira da Rocha Amaral de Souza for the report and images.