top of page

Paviljoen Leuvenhaven Rotterdam

OLAF GIPSER ARCHITECTS with SMARTLAND second in contest Leuvehavenpavilion Rotterdam

Last summer, the City of Rotterdam started an ambitious competition to design a new pavilion at the Leuvehaven. A very special place in Rotterdam, the mouth of the river Rotte and in effect the origin of the city.

Rotterdam wants to reorganize and revitalize the Leuvehaven and its pavilion, to strengthen the link between the city and river. The pavilion is 100 meters long and must accommodate three users: the Maritime Museum, the Harbour Information Point (HIP) and Harbour Restaurant. Olaf Gipser Architects designed a sensitive yet robust pavilion together with SMARTLAND. A binding building based on three historical harbour periods. From 43 submissions this design ended as second. An excellent result, but obviously just not what we were hoping for.

SMARTLAND has focused on the scenic and ecological aspects of the task. The latter was not specifically asked, but the location shouted for this aspect to be involved in the design. Leuvehaven is as said the original mouth of the river Rotte, where it ended in the brackish tidal river Maas. Much has changed, but not this last fact. The river still shows an unlikely large tidal range of 2 meters, still has quite salty water, and still is located in an ecologically important hub, "where the River meets the Sea '.

We have, based on these data, combined a number of measures with the development of the pavilion. Thus we made the Leuvehaven ‘nature-inclusive', in line with Rotterdam's ambition to develop the ’River as Tidal Park’. We have designed artificial reefs for aquatic plants, shells and crabs, which are above water twice a day. Rough quay walls on which a gradient of wall- rock- and water plants will arise. A half-open quay paving will house the typical plants of temperate rocky shores and on the roof garden there are possibilities for plants and insects from the dry estuary. ‘Where the River Meets the Sea '!

Because we are convinced that especially in the city awareness of nature is essential, to evoke valuation and respect, much thought has been given to the interaction with visitors to the museum and the restaurant. To do so we modified the scaffolding structure of the Museumhaven with the aim to house not only ships, but also nature. The restaurant has a harbour tribune, which changes in shape by changing tide. The departure point of the Harbour Taxi and Speedo has been moved to a location where the artificial reefs are visible, which let people admire their residents when emerged. And at the waiting location an underwater viewing window is realized that eliminates the reflection of the brackish water and shows the passing riverfish.

The design for the pavilion may not have won the first prize, possibly ideas for a nature inclusive Leuvehaven can still be included in the development!

bottom of page