Lingotto and WSA were invited by property owner Havensteder (previously PWS Rotterdam) to draw up a development vision for a temporary and definitive use of the Slaakhuys, designated a heritage site by the government. Erik-Jan de Rooij of Lingotto and Willem Sulsters of WSA explained the proposal in a presentation and guided tour of the building.
Havensteder will make a start this year with the redevelopment of the Slaakhuys. Mei Architecten en Stedenbouwers has been invited to draw up a design for the redevelopment. A number of concepts for reuse have been formulated by Lingotto and WSA. Their market research and assessment of the potential of the structure and identity of this unique building resulted in four concepts: Knowledge Plaza, Media Centre, Het Vrije Volk and Dutch Design Hotel. The first task is to clear out the central hall, restoring the monumental appearance it once had, so that the first result is visible by September.
The Slaakhuys is a fine example of post-war reconstruction architecture. The complex was designed in 1954 by Jo Vegter and originally built to house De Arbeiderspers publishing house and Het Vrije Volk, a daily newspaper at the time. Its combination of a sturdy concrete structure, decorative brickwork, ribbed concrete parapets, and highlights in stone and mosaic make this a typical work of architecture from the 1950s.