Green urban block starts transformation of former office park in Kralingen

On the Kralingse Zoom in Rotterdam, the Max Euwe Kwartier (MEK) consists of three mixed use buildings in a lush green environment. It is the first milestone in the masterplan Brainpark I that transforms the former office park into a lively green district to live, work and relax. The urban block combines 750 apartments with collective roof gardens and public facilities. Commissioned by BAKKERS | HOMMEN, MEK is designed by GROUP A, ZZDP Architects, STIJNVANDENBOOGAARD ARCHITECTURE and OKRA landscape architects.

Vivid residential and work district
Master plan Brainpark I, designed by the municipality of Rotterdam, transforms the former office park into a green multifunctional district in Kralingen. The master plan was recently unanimously approved by the city council. MEK’s characteristic ensemble on the Kralingse Zoom is anchored in this master plan. The design closely relates to the future promenade, the Esplanade, that connects metro station Kralingse Zoom with the Erasmus Campus. Future intensions to intensify high quality public transport and to improve the urban bicycle network, will reinforce the district’s inner city qualities.

Urban block with collective green space
Three buildings define the Max Euwe Kwartier with variations in height, volume and material. The mixed use buildings descend towards the promenade, creating a series of roof gardens. The area between the buildings is designed as green public space. The public plinth and collective mobility facilities, such as shared cars and bicycles, contribute to a comfortable and future proof living environment.

Green meeting places
In OKRA‘s design the surrounding landscape enters the Max Euwe Kwartier with a playful set of paths and recreational areas. This creates a lively walkthrough area between the buildings surrounded by a lush palette of plants and trees. Two courtyards with access to the parking garage below, function as social hubs. A series of collective roof gardens foster encounters between residents.

On the quarter’s north side, MEK01 combines 299 apartments with public facilities. The building, designed by GROUP A, consists of a base topped by a 70-meter stepped tower. The base embraces a raised green courtyard that provides access to galleries and communal roof gardens. A spacious recess in the north facade opens up the elevated courtyard overlooking the water. The red-coloured concrete facade offers the tower an elegant character with slender frames and open corners, while its base is more robust. The building will have a transparent public plinth with entrances that stand out.

The quarter’s central building, designed by ZZDP Architects, is divided into two volumes by a connective green strip. A striking grid with staggered loggias and setbacks define MEK21, accommodating 216 apartments. This gold-coloured grid of ceramic facade elements is applied to create a prominent front on the Kralingse Zoom, as well as a softer, stepped facade facing the promenade. In addition to illustrating an alluring appearance these staggered facades also provide pleasant and private outdoor spaces for the apartments.

MEK31 highlights the south end and the view from the Van Brienenoordbrug. Designed by STIJNVANDENBOOGAARD ARCHITECTURE, the building accommodates 232 apartments. Both the tower and the base display a unified lining of light concrete floor edges with a refined facade grid in between. Grid, materialization and detailing result in a calm and refined dynamic, seen both from afar and up close. Shifting balconies and loggias in combination with roof gardens, offer this residential building a pleasant living experience and a human scale. The public plinth of MEK31 offers access to facilities, such as offices, catering facilities, mobility hub, green public area, park and housing.

Construction of the Max Euwe Kwartier is expected to start in early 2023.

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