Tagged: reconstruction

Bench on the roof of the Groothandelsgebouw during sunset, with a couple in a romantic mood in the background

The Rotterdam Staircase – a Stairway to Heaven

The Staircase, Rotterdam’s successful temporary tourist attraction, is taken down, but fortunately we still have the photos. In five weeks time 368.611 people climbed the 180 steps to the top of the structure of wood and scaffolding pipe, an idea of my esteemed former colleague Winy Maas. Allthough it’s likely that in reality there were just a few less, because I went up four times and I was probably counted every time. Challenge It’s strange: put a staircase and an escalator next to each other and everyone takes the latter, even if the height difference is just a few meters....

Huf Building, a national monument from the reconstruction era, photographed from the square near Saint Lawrence Church, late in the afternoon, with the building and its lighting reflecting in Delftsevaart

The Reconstruction Top 10 – Rotterdam Highlights from 1945-1970

It is a common misconception that Rotterdam is not very interesting in terms of architectural history because all history has been bombed out of it in 1940. And although much beauty was lost in May of that year,  in the new city as it has grown in the past 75 years, quite a few historical layers can be discovered. The reconstruction period is particularly interesting because in those years (let’s limit it to the period from 1945 to 1970) pretty good architecture was built (and unfortunately some of it even has been demolished already). The buildings from that time are generally fairly sober, but often...

Impression of Dudok's Bijenkorf department store and windmill de Noord possibly reconstructed in Miniworld Rotterdam

The Windmill Will be Reconstructed! But not on Oostplein

Well over a year ago I made a visualization of the reconstruction of the windmill on Oostplein in Rotterdam. A brief summary: the mill survived the bombing of 1940 but burned down in 1954; plans for rebuilding were voted down by the City Council because the windmill was standing in the way of progress. Since then, Oostplein has been the most desolate square of the country, or at least of Rotterdam. Reconstruction of the windmill would be a way to give the place some of its former allure again. Guerrilla marketing A guerrilla marketing campaign that I did together with Gyz...

Fragment of the the Double Streep Map Rotterdam 1939-2016, showing the position of the overhead railway on Binnenrotte in relation to pre-war and contemporary city blocks

The Overhead Railway on the Double Street Map of Rotterdam

About a year ago I created the Double Street Map of Rotterdam 1939-2014, which shows how the street pattern of my hometown has changed as a result of the 1940 bombardment and the subsequent reconstruction. That map did not go unnoticed: local newspaper AD/Rotterdams Dagblad wrote about it and I received a lot of reactions. The comments were actually all positive, except for on a small point of criticism: the Overhead Railway is missing! Parisian allure Indeed, the Overhead Railway … I’m old enough to remember: the railway viaduct on Binnenrotte, which gave an almost Parisian allure to the market...

Spherical panorama Bourtange, The Netherlands

The Link between Bourtange and Rotterdam (and between a Pentagon and a Sphere)

A few weeks ago I was in Bourtange, the well-preserved fortified village in the Dutch province of Groningen. At least, I’ve always thought that Bourtange was a nicely preserved piece of history. But that’s not entirely correct. For more than a century, the fortress was completely gone and Bourtange was a boring farming village. In the nineteenth century, the fortifications were demolished and the canals were closed, which happened in many places in those days. Reconstruction Not until the sixties of the twentieth century came the idea to rebuild the fortress. In the seventies and eighties that idea was carried...

Future plan of Oostplein in Rotterdam, including reconstruction of windmill De Noord and greening of the public space

The Return of the Windmill, part 2

Half a year ago I made an artist impression of windmill De Noord, reconstructed at the Oostplein in Rotterdam. That action remained not completely unnoticed; it’s time for an update. Together with Gyz la Riviere, whose film Rotterdam 2040 inspired me to create the visualization, I launched a campaign to raise awareness of the possibility of rebuilding the windmill. We had 2000 postcards printed, which we distributed in local bars, restaurants and other places: Polictics and media Also the mayor and aldermen, political parties and the media received a copy. The AD/Rotterdams Dagblad published an article which evoked enthusiastic responses...

Fragment of the double street map of Rotterdam which compares the streets, blocks and harbours of the city in 1939 and 2014

Rotterdam: a Tale of Two Cities

If you’ve been reading my blog (for example, take the article on the old Bijenkorf or windmill De Noord) you know that I’m really interested in the history and architecture of Rotterdam. And that’s not just because I live there. What fascinates me is that there are actually two different cities. These two cities share the same location, but are separated from each other by time. With one major breaking point: the day of the bombing, May 14, 1940. Of course, other cities have changed enormously as well since, say, the thirties. But nowhere the changes have been as dramatic...

Artist impression of Windmill De Noord, reconstructed on the refurbished and greened Oostplein in Rotterdam

Rotterdam, Oostplein: Return of the Windmill

A few weeks ago I saw on Vimeo the movie Rotterdam 2040, created by Gyz la Riviere. Highly recommended: the film is full of archival footage of Rotterdam in various eras. The film also makes you think about the typical Rotterdam tendency to constantly demolish historic buildings for the sake of progress, or for other reasons. Of course, the German Air Force in 1940 had a disproportionate share of the demolition. But you would expect that people would be more careful with what was left, precisely because of that bombing. But the opposite happened. Many buildings that could have been...