Transformation of a modern business palace
Mei will breathe new life into the former Stokvis-building at the Westzeedijk in Rotterdam (better known as the Oceanhouse). Commissioned by Waterford Investments & Vervat Vastgoed, this national monument will be converted to a unique residential building. The building was originally built for the company firm Stokvis & Zn., renowned for their industrial products and mopeds (Zundapp and Puch). The Stokvis-building was a ‘modern business palace’ with novelties such as car-passages through the building and a covered in her courtyard with a cafeteria and roof terrace.
The modern business palace of the firm Stokvis & Zn. was bombed during World War II and badly damaged, but afterwards rebuilt in the same form. In 1973 Stokvis moved to another location and ever since the national monument has been in use by several companies, among which the School for Applied Sciences, the Police, and the Municipality of Rotterdam. The monumental elements will stay intact, such as the royal entrance hall at the Heiman Dullaertplein, the ‘Gothic hall, the Tudor hall, and the cafeteria on the roof. Mei architects and planners will add a new time layer to this monument, while respecting the existing building, by placing a modern volume on top of the building. After the transformation, this will be a unique loft-apartment building.
The program consists of about 200 residential units of many types (50-250 m2): family apartments, studios, loft apartments, corner apartments, live-work apartments and penthouses. By connecting the current light shafts through the building the floorplan consists of an inner circle and an outer circle. The units in the inner circle lie adjacent to the atrium. This space was originally used for the loading and unloading of trucks for the factory, and will be transformed into a unique inner courtyard for residents. The units in the outer circle are directly accessible from the street. These lofts will have beautiful monumental high ceilings with rounded ceiling corners and monumental windows.
The original staircases will be connected to the inner circle to access the units on the roof. The new volume forms a circle around a collective roof terrace. Because of this, the new built elements blend in with the maintained monumental elements, such as the cafeteria space and the Juliana hall, in a charming and natural way.
New volume on top
The new volume will relate to the existing building in several ways. First, by pulling back the first layer just a bit from the existing roof edge, a gap is being created between both structures. The golden coloured façade will contrast with the existing brickwork in a stunning way. Rounded edges will emphasize the difference between the old and the new, and will provide the people living inside the corner apartments with a spectacular panorama view of Rotterdam. The inner facades of the new built project on the roof have been designed like real ‘Mei-facades’, given that there is a definite use of texture and articulation.
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