Fancy McDonald’s

mcdonalds coolsingel meent rotterdam

The World is the word

Once the ugliest structure in Rotterdam and nowadays one of the World’s Fanciest McDonald’s (2016). Also it won the German Design Award (2016) granted by the German Design Council.

Originally built somewhere in the year 1968 as a cigar shop. The McDonald’s is at the popular Coolsingel street since the early 1970s. After the presentation of the new plans for the street without any of the existing pavilions the building still went through a do-over in 2015. Due to the lease for this location McDonald’s owns it until 2044.

mcdonalds coolsingel meent rotterdam

The new design is by Mei Architects and Planners. It contains a McDonald’s which invites shoppers during the day and attracts the nightlife crowd in the evenings. The outside seats are similar the already present street furniture elsewhere in the city. At nighttime it is a true glowing attraction.

Whether inside or outside the 6 meters high glass panels make the whole a see through space. There are entrances on 3 sides for a nice public flow. The perforated classy golden facade is made from durable and vandal proof aluminum. Inside a white spiral steel staircase connects both levels.

This design blends in very well with the rest and is now part of the city’s greatest architectural structures such as the Markthal and Central Station. The monumental Post Rotterdam behind the McDonald’s is certainly visible through its glassy looks. The images on the facade are from what seems a crowd and continue inside the McDonalds as well.

Is this McDonald’s at the Coolsingel in Rotterdam one of the world’s fanciest? Here is the location!

Cube Houses

kubushuizen cube houses cubes rotterdam architecture piet blom

Roll the Dice

The famous Cube Houses (1982-1984) connect the Oude Haven (Old Harbor) and the Blaak areas in Rotterdam. The 51 iconic Cubic Houses (kubushuizen) in Rotterdam are by architect Piet Blom. With 38 actual Cubic Houses between 13 Company Cubes.

Each Cube House is approximately 100 m2 with three floors inside. Behind the front door a staircase brings you to the first floor where the living room and kitchen are. Another set of stairs takes you to the second floor whith the bedroom(s), a bathroom and toilet. The smaller third floor is ideal for some relaxation. Through the glass ceiling one can enjoy the lovely sky-view. During warm summers it can get really hot on the third floor because of all this glass. The architecture style for the Cube Houses is Structuralism.

While walking amongst the Cube Houses in Rotterdam notice the big yellow textboards that are quotes from the architect. Actually one of the Cubic Houses in Rotterdam is publicly open for the ultimate Cube House experience. Moreover the buildings with the upside-down windows next to the yellow Cube Houses are also by Piet Blom. One is the Blaaktoren and the other is in the Old Harbor area where also the White House stands.

Because the quirky Cubic Houses look like trees locals also call them the Blaak Forest. That’s why the architect Piet Blom (1934-1999) wants you to feel like walking through a forest. Here is the location!

kubushuizen cube houses cubes rotterdam architecture piet blom


montevideo francine houben rotterdam architecture

The big M

The Montevideo tower in Rotterdam carries the same name as the capital city of Uruguay in South America. It is in the Kop van Zuid neighborhood and built from 2003-2005. The name refers to a warehouse once in the area. The big letter M on top stands for Montevideo but also the river Maas. A very important river for the port of Rotterdam. Without the Maas, Rotterdam wouldn’t be the same. The Montevideo is by architect Francine Houben.

The building is with the letter M 153 meters high. Without the letter M the Montevideo only reaches 139,5 meters. The 3-dimensional letter M on top functions as a weather vane and therefor rotates. Depending on the stand of it one can also know the wind-direction. So at different times the M can be seen from differents angles.

The Montevideo in Rotterdam includes 192 appartments spread over 43 floors. With even two more floors for parking under the building. There are the so called sky- and city-lofts but also water-appartments. The sky-lofts because of the breathtaking views the different lofts provide. The water-appartments are closer to all the activity on the river. All combined with a shared terrace, swimming pool, sauna and gym. Aside of appartments there is also office space.

The Montevideo received several awards for its design. Mecanoo Architects, the agency of the architect Francine Houben, won the “International Highrise Award 2006” and the “Dedalo Minosse 2006”. The Montevideo is the third high-rise construction on the Wilhelminapier. Together with the World Port Center part of the Kop van Zuid neighborhood. Here is the location!

montevideo francine houben rotterdam architecture

Groot Handelsgebouw

groothandels gebouw rotterdam architecture groothandelsgebouw

None of your business

The Groot Handelsgebouw in Rotterdam from 1947-1953 is by architects H.A. Maaskant and Ir. W. van Tijen. As the name says it is a large business building and a national monument. It is one of the first larger buildings after World War 2 in Rotterdam.

Due to the bombings on the 14th of May in 1940 almost 388.000 m2 business space was destroyed in Rotterdam. Instead of rebuilding most of the lost space separately the entrepreneur Frits Pot presented the idea for the Groot Handelsgebouw.

The Groot Handelsgebouw in Rotterdam has a length of 220 meters, is 85 meters wide and 43 meters high. Furthermore there are 5 entrances on several sides. In the year 2005 the building was renovated. Since 1953 it is a place for many entrepreneurs and businesses. There are restaurants, cafés and also conference rooms. Moreover with a cinema (Kriterion) on the rooftop from 1961 until the 1990s.

Next to the Groot Handelsgebouw stands the Delftse Poort from 1991. It is a good comparison of the old and the new in Rotterdam. Also how progressive and modern the city always is. Here is the location!

groothandels gebouw rotterdam architecture groothandelsgebouw

Delftse Poort

delftse poort torens towers rotterdam architecture

Fata Morgana

The Delftse Poort building (1988-1991) in Rotterdam is by architect Abe Bonnema. It is in the Neo-rationalism architectural style.

Altogether the entire building has a surface of 106.000 m2. The highest tower (41 floors) is 151 meters high while the lower tower (25 floors) reaches 93 meters into the sky. Together they provide 65.000 m2 office space. In between the Delftse Poort towers is a lower situated substructure that is 36 meters high with a surface of 15.000 m2.

Further the Delftse Poort building stands on a foundation of 957 piles. There are in total 28 elevators and parking spaces for bikes and cars inside. The outside is covered with reflective sun-resistant blue glass.

The Delftse Poort in Rotterdam is a location for multiple companies, entrepreneurs, flex-workers and others. Inside the middle part there are several facilities for food, drinks, sports and more. 

Another prestigious building nearby is the City Hall (1920). In the Rotterdam Central District the bright Delftse Poort towers are like a Fata Morgana. Here is the location!

delftse poort torens towers rotterdam architecture


maastunnel rotterdam maas tunnel architecture

Tunnel vision

The Maastunnel is one of the most outstanding structures in Rotterdam. It is also the oldest immersed tunnel in the Netherlands. With the start of the construction in 1937 (three years before the 2nd World War)  and the opening during the war In 1942. The Maastunnel in Rotterdam is well hidden in the river Nieuwe Maas.

In 1944 German soldiers put explosives on one of the car tunnels ceiling using the wiring for the trolleybuses. This way they could explode the tunnels if necessary. However thanks to three men of the resistance who cut the wires after three days from one of the dark tunnel chambers the tunnel in the Nieuwe Maas is still part of Rotterdam.

maastunnel rotterdam maas tunnel architecture

With back in 1937 the Willemsbrug (1878) and Koninginnebrug (1929) as the only connection points the Maas tunnel became the next connection between the North and South in Rotterdam. This mostly because of the traffic jams. Even too much for the many ferries to handle. So that explains the need for the Maas tunnel by architects J.P. van Bruggen and Ad van der Steur. A total of four tunnels form the Maas tunnel in Rotterdam. There are two car tunnels (1070 meters) with two lanes each. There is a bicycle tunnel (585 meters) on top of a pedestrian tunnel (585 meters).

The Maastunnel entrances are the white buildings with green rooftops. There are elevators but also the original escalators with wooden parts. Nearby is the Euromast Tower. Here are the locations North / South!

Central Station

central centraal station rotterdam sybold van ravensteyn

The City Portal

Until 1957 Rotterdam had four smaller train stations instead of a actual Central Station. All near and around the city center area. Already in 2004 there were plans for a new Central Station in Rotterdam. This because by 2025 the city expects a growth from 110.000 to a 320.000 daily travelers. The old station by architect Sybold van Ravensteyn couldn’t handle this amount of travelers. The new station is by the architects of Benthem Crouwel Architects, Meyer en Van Schooten and West 8. 

So in 2007 the old Central Station in Rotterdam was closed to be demolished in 2008. And in 2014 Dutch King Willem Alexander opened the new Central Station with 7 platforms and 13 platform tracks.

A reminder of the past is the clock from 1957 in the front. The original neon letters forming the words “Centraal Station” were supposed to be placed back. Because of the theft of 6 letters (A, A, A, I, N and S) from the storage a replica now covers the front instead. Furthermore below the station there is an immense bicycle parking with space for 5190 bicycles. This to avoid that travelers park their bikes everywhere around the station. There are 3000 solar panels on a surface of 10.000 m2 on the roof top that collect and provide solar energy for the elevators, escalators and lights. The total surface of the roof is 30.000 m2.

Together with the Groot Handelsgebouw from 1953 next door the Central Station in Rotterdam is definitely an eyecatcher. Inside the station one can eat, drink and relax in the many places while waiting for the trains. Here is the location!

central centraal station rotterdam sybold van ravensteyn

New Orleans

new orleans tower alvaro siza rotterdam kop van zuid architecture

Newer Orléans

While New Orleans is named after the French place Orléans, there is a tower with a similar name in Rotterdam. Alongside the Nieuwe Maas river stands the New Orleans in Rotterdam. The tower (2007-2010) is by the architect Álvaro Siza.

The New Orleans in Rotterdam is 158 meters and 45 floors high. Underneath the building are two more floors that provide parking space for 268 vehicles. Beside the 234 appartments there is a health club with a gym, sauna, swimming pool and a 1000 m2 large roof terrace from where the residents enjoy the view.

The sand-coloured natural stone on the exterior explains the sandy color of the tower. Also notice that the building’s plinth is mostly glass. The Lantaren Venster theater with five hall and a special jazz stage is in the plinth.

Similar to the Freedom Tower in New York, the New Orleans in Rotterdam is with an outstanding construction. A total of 14 highly fortified steel columns form the base of the building. The Art Deco styled crown on top gives the building that 1930s New York skyscrapers look. The name New Orleans is because of the many warehouses once in the area.

The tower by Álvaro Siza stands next to the Montevideo in the Kop van Zuid neighborhood in Rotterdam. Here is the location!

new orleans tower alvaro siza rotterdam kop van zuid architecture

De Hef

hef bridge brug koningshavenbrug rotterdam architecture

A bridge for the King

Until 1993 trains in Rotterdam went over the Koningshavenbrug. Since then trains go through tunnels in the Nieuwe Maas river. In Rotterdam the Koningshaven bridge is mostly popular as the De Hef. Because it is a lift bridge from 1927. The De Hef part stands for lift.

Actually from 1877 until 1927 the Koningshavenbrug in Rotterdam was a swing bridge causing a smaller passage. As a result many ship-collisions against the bridge pillars. With the last collision in 1918. Hence the decision for a lift bridge by the engineer P. Joosting.

During World War II the De Hef in Rotterdam was damaged and fixed for the trains. Nowadays the bridge is a monument. The lift part is 52 meters long and moves up 45 meters. Still the bridge decks in the Nieuwe Maas river are from 1877. The highest point of the bridge is at 70 meters.

Next to the De Hef in Rotterdam is the Koninginnebrug from 1929. Especially by night De Hef looks great with all the light decorations. Here is the location!

hef bridge brug koningshavenbrug rotterdam architecture

World Port Center

world port center norman foster architecture rotterdam kop van zuid


The World Port Center (1998-2001) in Rotterdam is by the architect Sir Norman Foster. With its 124 meters height the second high-rise building ever in the Kop van Zuid area. The building has two towers and a middle interconnecting part. While the squared tower is 80 meters high the semi-round tower is 100 meters high. The middle part connects both towers with a height of 124 meters. There are 32 floors inside the World Port Center. Furthermore two more underground floors function as a parking for 500 vehicles.

Beside several companies there are also the Municipal Port Authority and Calamity Center inside the World Port Center. The Port Authority manages all the port activity and the Calamity Center handles oil or chemical spills in the port.

The World Port Center in Rotterdam stands behind the historical Hotel New York building. Here is the location!

world port center norman foster architecture rotterdam kop van zuid