Ten years ago Montevideo - the tallest residential tower block in the Netherlands at the time - was opened by the Mayor of Rotterdam. Over the past decade, the skyscraper and its enormous letter ‘M’ at its summit has become an icon for the second city of the Netherlands.
The building refers to the interbellum high-rise buildings of New York, Chicago and Boston: brick built, with a refined level of detailing and use of colour, infused with roof terraces and loggias. With its composition of intersecting volumes, partly suspended above the quay, the building’s silhouette stands out on the skyline. Openings are distributed across the building in a rhythmic composition: corner-spanning, storey-high, circular, staggered, opening on hinges, and sliding open. The building is reminiscent of the cross-section of an ocean liner with different floor heights and communal facilities, similar to the large cruise ships that still regularly dock at the Wilhelmina Pier.
Montevideo was among the first buildings to transform the pier, the former inner city harbour area of Rotterdam. Wilhelmina Pier has become a centre for culture, leisure and living. Although Mecanoo’s tower has been joined by a number of other skyscrapers, the view over the river Maas from the penthouse atop Montevideo is unparalleled.