Schiecentrale 4B is the final block in the redevelopment of the former Schiehaven power plant and surroundings. The combination of office space, residential units and live-work units brings even more life to an area that in recent years has blossomed to become the hub of the creative industry in Rotterdam.
Schiecentrale 4B consists of a spectacular new building that wraps around the north-western sides of the old Schiecentrale plant. Like a small city, the new complex offers a variety of housing types that cater for self-confidant people active in the creative industry and who are attracted to the harbour atmosphere that the area still breathes. The scale and size are in keeping with the metropolitan docklands context. The shape chosen for the slab means that every residential unit enjoys views of both the River Maas and the city of Rotterdam.
The new building contains 55,000 square metres of programme, 7000 of which is office space. There are also 156 live-work units whose floor-plans can be arranged as desired, and twenty ground-access quayside houses each with 3.5 floors. Additional amenities consist of a supermarket (2000 square metres), a gymnasium (600 square metres), 400 parking places in a supervised garage, and a semi-public deck of 3000 square metres. A sun terrace, podium, playground and lunchtime supervision facility for schoolchildren complete the programme.
The most distinctive feature of the project is the height of the building, a 50-metre-tall slab that stretches for a length of 130 metres and rises above the former electricity power plant. The 11-floor structure contains office space and live-work units that are accessible from a gallery faced in a specially woven stainless-steel screen. Attached to the gallery are storage units, which are normally hidden away in the basement, but are now positioned opposite the front doors as eye-catching objects. All spaces on the west side of the building are fitted with glazed façades. From here, occupants enjoy a spectacular view of the River Nieuwe Maas and the port. Floor-to-ceiling harmonica doors front the live-work units and can open to turn the apartment into an enclosed and sunny terrace.
Facing the river only, the quayside dwellings feature glazed façades that allow for optimal use. The rear of these popular dwellings adjoins the car park, turning them into a reinterpretation of the drive-in house: you drive into your home as it were.
The free floor-plans of the living units allow residents to determine the arrangement of rooms. On account of the high level of flexibility, all technical installations in the spaces, and also on the façades of the building, are surface mounted. The complex has the character of a pure dock structure interwoven with the technology of offshore and process industries. The design strategy adopted by Mei embraces mistakes by the contractor, which are inevitable when many hands are involved in work. The result is a sturdy building that deliberately accommodates imperfections.
Schiecentrale has enjoyed considerable praise and international media attention. Self-confident residents have made their home in Schiecentrale. So too has Mei: in the summer of 2013 it relocated to the 16th floor at the top of the building. Visitors are always welcome in our office, and we would be delighted to guide anybody interested around the projects on the Lloydpier.