New City Entrance, Rotterdam-Zuid

clarity and quality

For the 2019 edition of the PROVADA Transformatieplein (initiative of Vakmedianet; de Architect and Vastgoedmarkt), the municipality of Rotterdam set us a challenge with the Hart van Zuid office strip. At the moment only 1,200 people live in the area. The task was to ensure compaction here. And creating a high-quality working, staying and living environment for this zone.

Hart van Zuid will be the new, vibrant city centre of Rotterdam Zuid. For this purpose, the area around the Zuidplein shopping centre and Rotterdam Ahoy is undergoing a total metamorphosis. With the Hart van Zuid area development, the municipality of Rotterdam aims to give a lasting physical and social impulse to Rotterdam Zuid. The emphasis here is on connecting, and improving and extending stays in the area.

The Kantorenstrook – 5 dated office villas on the Strevelsweg – is located on the east side of the Zuidplein shopping centre and falls outside the scope of Hart van Zuid. Characteristic of the area is the fragmented built-up that forms a frayed edge without strong residential qualities. The shopping centre is one of the largest and best running in the Netherlands, but lacks the inviting appearance that should go with it. The transformation of the office strip offers good opportunities to increase the liveliness and liveability of the area by means of compaction and a combination of functions. We also see an opportunity to add a residential-work-shop programme.

In the implementation of our design, we mainly looked at orientation and the connections with the immediate surroundings. We do this by intensifying pedestrian flows from the surrounding neighbourhoods and improving the image visible from the car or bus. Coming from the south, this area forms the entrance to the city. However, there is now a lack of the right image – attractive and metropolitan – that belongs to a modern city. By creating a new city entrance, the area acquires an identity that makes it visible that it is a pleasant place to live and stay.

To replace the expansion of the shopping centre in the 1990s, we are introducing a raised ground level between the Twentsestraat and Strevelsweg. This creates an area with new fronts. The addition of this deck creates a pleasant walking route between Ahoyplein and Ikazia Hospital, which links up with the existing route between the ‘Zuiderterras’ housing complex and the Zuidplein metro stop. Beneath the deck, there will be space for expedition and parking. The shopping centre will have clear entrances on both the Ahoyplein and the east side. By mainly adding a living and working programme, and a minimum number of shops, we will create 16/7 vibrancy to the area.

We hope that the ambition formulated in this vision will lead to a follow-up process. Here we can further elaborate on the phasability and feasibility of the design.



Municipality Rotterdam


Urban design


Hart van Zuid, Rotterdam


Residence, offices, shops

Start design

June 2019

The makers of this project

Adam Visser

Adam Visser Architect | Partner

Folkert van Hagen

Folkert van Hagen Architect | Partner

Maarten van Bremen

Maarten van Bremen Architect | Partner

Diederik Erkel

Diederik Erkel Partner

Birgitta Rottmann

Birgitta Rottmann Architect | Projectleader

Federica Padovani

Federica Padovani Urban designer

Sven Schouten

Sven Schouten Designer