Renovation of national monument De Lijnbaan
In 2014, Mei architects and planners won the architect selection for the renovation of De Lijnbaan. De Lijnbaan is world famous as the first car-free shopping promenade, designed in the Rotterdam post-war reconstruction period by the Rotterdam architectural firm Van den Broek and Bakema. With its beautiful luxury shops and co-designed shop windows, the ensemble has served as an example for shopping areas for years. In 2010 De Lijnbaan was designated as a national monument. Mei renovated this special shopping area commissioned by ASR Vastgoed and in close cooperation with retailers, owners, the municipality of Rotterdam, the Rotterdam Committee for the Visual Heritage and Monuments, and the Cultural Heritage Agency. In the renovation, the original quality and 1950s appearance were restored to approximately 800 linear metres of Lijnbaan’s facades. With this, De Lijnbaan has been restored to its former glory and meets the current wishes of shopkeepers and shoppers.
Completed in 2018
Renovation of the world-famous post-war monument
Living room feeling
The canopies that connect the shopping premises with each other are the most characteristic element of the original design by Van den Broek and Bakema. Together with the ‘crossing canopies’, they connect the shopping area and frame the public space, creating a warm and homely feeling here, like a village in the city. Since its construction in 1953, more and more things have gradually changed, losing the unity of the ensemble. With the design of Mei architects and planners, the living room feeling has returned to De Lijnbaan. Later added elements have been removed, the old canopies are restored and, with the use of wood and warm materials, the original quality has been brought back.
De Lijnbaan before
Renovation in detail
Mei started the design process with a thorough inventory and architectural mapping of all existing facades. Extra attention was paid to the special corner and link buildings. The original wooden parts were still present in some of the buildings. These have been restored, not replaced. The observant passer-by will be able to recognize the differences between the cherished monumental wooden parts and the new wooden parts.
The glass canopies that were added around 1996 have been removed during this renovation. The original canopies have been restored and covered at the bottom and front with sections of durable Accoya wood. To minimize inconvenience to shopkeepers, the wood was installed as prefabricated panels. The low-maintenance coating was also applied in the factory.
The storey facades, designed on a characteristic fixed grid of 1.10 metres, were also tackled. The existing concrete trusses were cleaned and restored, and missing trusses were replaced. For this purpose, a special composite concrete ‘top-up truss’ was developed. The rhythm of the posts varies, just as in the original design.
The setback between the canopies and the continuous façade beam at the level of the storey floor is also an important element in the design of De Lijnbaan. The concrete façade beam was restored by cleaning it, removing paint and repairing concrete damage. The alcove, too, was carefully restored along its entire length and fitted with netting to prevent pigeon nuisance in the future.
Lijnbaan 77 is located on the corner of Lijnbaan and Aert van Nesstraat. The first retailer to move into the building in 1953 was the silver smithy Kempen Begeer and Vos. Both the exterior and the interior of Lijnbaan 77 were originally designed by architectural firm van den Broek and Bakema based on their specific wishes.
In the new situation, Mei, commissioned by ASR Vastgoed Vermogensbeheer, modernized the interior and adapted it to the current retail wishes. In the exterior, the canopy that was later added along the Aert van Nesstraat has been removed and the original, wooden canopy has been reinstated. The warm, artisanal concrete in the facades has been cleaned up, making it fit in beautifully with the street scene again. The division of the façade on the first floor has also been restored and, with floor-to-ceiling glass panels without parapets, gives this shop building a beautiful appearance.
Commissioned by JD Sports, Mei architects and planners designed the renovation of Lijnbaan 91, on the corner of Lijnbaan and Van Oldenbarneveltplaats. In a contemporary way, the characteristic 50’s details have been brought back in the design, just like with the previously renovated Lijnbaan 77.
The façades of the building have largely been returned to the historic image of 1955. The shop front has been replaced by a new transparent front that follows the division of the Lijnbaan pattern of the storey facade. The Colorbel façade panels have been replaced by composite elements with the colour, material allowance and structure of the 1955 façade. The aluminium facades at Lijnbaan and Van Oldebarneveltplaats have been replaced by steel facades that follow the original grid pattern.
The various mezzanine floors in the building were removed, so that the building now has three equal floors: a basement, ground floor and first floor. The first floor is accessed by two escalators, which are placed in the existing void.
For the façade, a new artwork has been designed by text-based artist Milou van Ham in collaboration with poet Tsead Bruinja. The artwork is a playful reference to the original work that was lost in the 1970s.
The new artwork is a glass appliqué; a technique in which mouth-blown ‘antique’ flat glass is glued onto a supporting pane of industrial factory glass. Each plate is uneven, which creates a beautiful relief. TIJD consists of 16 dark-coloured glass panels containing 16 Dutch four-letter words about time. The glass strip that was created over the façade can be read as a line of poetry.
LEEF TIJD LOOS
GLIM GALM KALM
VOOR MIJN DOEI VALT
ZING ZAAI VLAM
STAP FIER ROND