Historically the Hoge Wiek building was a block of flats for nurses of the Sint Fransiscus Hospital. The building was completed in 1967, has 16 floors and is 52.9 meters tall. From the roof, users can see a beautiful view of the city. Nowadays, the Hoge Wiek is a complex of student flats. Studies of the current building have shown that preservation or redevelopment are not viable and the owner (Woonstad Rotterdam) is looking to demolish the existing Hoge Wiek block and build a new student housing project.
An icon at a prominent location
Hoge Wiek lies at a pivotal point between the city harbour and the centre of Rotterdam. Located on the busy Maasboulevard, it represents an iconic gateway to the city centre marking the beginning of a stunning high-rise skyline of Rotterdam. Hoge Wiek is an integral part of the recent ‘Havenstad masterplan’ designed by Mecanoo. Together with the municipality, Woonstad is looking at transforming the area into a high-quality urban environment by activating the Haringvliet and Boerengat quays, preserving and enriching the landscape of the dike profile along the Maasboulevard and transforming an important access road (Oostmolenwerf) into new city boulevard.
Together with a Haringvliet high-rise, Hoge Wiek creates an iconic waterfront ensemble of three towers with a plinth. The Hoge Wiek tower consists of two volumes - a plinth benchmarked at a ‘Rotterdamse laag’ (an urban height of 5-6 levels maintained in Rotterdam city centre), and a tower up to 70m tall. The building volume gradually steps down in the form of green angled terraces towards the south, creating collective space for the residents, from which the stunning views of the Maas River and inland ports can be seen.
The ground level of Hoge Wiek plays an important role in activation of the area with public functions. By means of introducing commercial functions on the ground floor and extending the public outdoor spaces and activities from the Haringvliet quay to the Boerengat, the project creates a new vibrant city hotspot facing the Boerengat waterfront. Apart from commercial space, the extra high ground level contains a grand main entrance from the new Oostmolenwerf boulevard, two levels of bicycle parking and some special apartments facing Eastern waterfront. The upper levels, plinth volume and the tower consist of studios, apartments and common spaces for students together with green terraces for recreational use.
Dynamic appearance and materialisation
The 70-meter-high tower has a dynamic shape that appears to twist in an upward movement. As the tower rises its steps gently, narrowing and changing under different angles. This subtle play of lines and perspectives gives the tower a characteristic silhouette. The interplay between volumes is reinforced using materials that are characteristic to the area - the brick plinths corresponding to the ‘Rotterdamse laag’ level, with the glass and copper-coloured metal façade of the tower inspired by the industrial heritage of the location. The result is an iconic ensemble that gives the area a new identity.