Schouwburgplein (“Theatre Square”) is situated in the heart of Rotterdam and is flanked by a theatre, the ‘Doelen’ Music Hall, and a cinema complex. Jerry van Eyck was part of West 8’s design team that generated the design concept to preserve and celebrate ‘the void’ in the urban center by immediately identifying the potential for an open space that would offer a 360 panorama of the city. The arrangement of the space preserves the urban industrial feel that is so deeply ingrained into the identity of the city. The material choices and design details of the square consistently have a maritime character referencing the nearby Port of Rotterdam (the largest in Europe).
The overall layout of the space is based on solar/shade analysis and pedestrian circulation patterns. The square’s most popular features are the operable hydraulic light poles. Visitors can alter the configuration of these monumental elements with controls located at the base of each light. The elevated ground plane serves to establish a “City Stage” preserving the void and cap the two-story parking garage below.
As a hugely successful project, Schouwburgplein is proof that an interactive public space, flexible in use and with a constant year-round change in program, is a solid detective for good urban design.
West 8 (with Jerry van Eyck)