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Press release: Mei designs unique wooden residential building ‘SAWA’

Mei architects and planners designs a unique wooden residential building ‘SAWA’ in the Lloydquarter in Rotterdam

In the heart of the Lloydquarter, the first fully wooden 50-meter-high residential building in Rotterdam will be realized. Mei architects and planners has been commissioned by Nice Developers and Era Contour to build this apartment building. Exceptional to SAWA is that the building will be built entirely in CLT (cross laminated timber). Furthermore, the building is distinguished by the generous green terraces, with which the building enhances the biodiversity of the neighborhood.

Building in CLT

In the context of the European Green Deal, UN Sustainable Development Goals and objectives of the municipality of Rotterdam to reduce CO2 emissions, the client and architect share the ambition to fully execute the building, including the main support structure, in CLT. There are multiple advantages of building in CLT: In addition to the fact that it storages CO2 and reduces emissions, construction time will be shorter compared to concrete construction and living comfort will increase. SAWA will be an exemplary project for new generations, an important step in the sustainability objectives and tangible evidence  that things can be done differently.


Dutch cities continue to grow and experience increasing pressure. The consequences of this urbanization on the human ecosystem – eg flooding, heat stress and increasing CO2 emissions – are becoming increasingly noticeable. At the same time, the habitat of birds, bees and butterflies is being considerably limited by increasing urbanization and mineralization of the landscape. With the design for SAWA, Mei commits to changing this evolution and contribute to a healthy living environment. In collaboration with city ecologists, a building is designed in a way in which vegetation is integrated into balconies, terraces and decks, thus increasing the biodiversity of the neighborhood.


The Lloydquarter has a rich maritime history, dating back to around 1900. The Lloyd Pier owes its name to the Rotterdamsche Lloyd shipping company, that built a terminal on the pier from which its passenger ships departed to the east of the world. The SAWA building owes its name to the trampled form with generous green terraces, as a reference to Eastern rice fields and the history of the place.

“As an architect, I believe we should take responsibility to create healthy societies. And this is the moment. The design for SAWA shows that things can be done differently!”
– Robert Winkel, owner/architect at Mei architects and planners

Shared values

SAWA is being developed in the heart of the neighborhood and will, partly because of this central location, provide added value to the neighborhood by creating meeting areas and by connecting with existing local initiatives. Various facilities will be added to the ground floor of the building and the green deck will function as a green connector between building and surrounding area (such as the communal garden) and add value for both residents and neighbors. The program comprises approximately 100 dwellings, of which 50 rental apartments in the modal segment, making it possible for people with indispensable professions (police officers, teachers, nurses, etc.) to remain in the city. This living concept is enriched by various shared functions – such as shared mobility, tools and a vegetable garden – thus stimulating a lively community.

Follow SAWA

The progress regarding the design and construction process will be shared at At this webpage you can sign up for the newsletter and indicate if you are interested in a property (non-binding). The aim is to start the construction of SAWA in 2021.