Powerhouse Company | Floating office Rotterdam (FOR)

Thanks to the successful collaboration between architect, developer and municipality, the Floating Office Rotterdam (FOR), the largest floating office building in the world, is now a reality. FOR is a perfect example of integrated architecture – unique in that it is designed, developed, built and owned by Powerhouse Company and RED Company. Through close contact with the main user, the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), the result is an extremely durable, representative and elegant design.

FOR is part of a larger plan from the municipality to make Rijnhaven greener with the help of large floating parks. The harbor belongs to the first generation of basins in Rotterdam, where the quays were too high to guarantee contact between its inhabitants and the water. Therefore, it is important to build floating public spaces to restore this relationship. Within this development, FOR is a pilot for floating techniques and an example in sustainable technology and circular construction.

The Floating Office Rotterdam reflects the mission of its main user, GCA, and houses the headquarters of this global top knowledge center, researching ways in which cities can prepare for the consequences of climate change. The exceptionally climate-resistant design is completely environmentally friendly and recyclable. In addition, the building is energy positive, CO2 negative and if the water level rises due to climate change, it will float.

In the wake of the lost port industry, the office building also has public facilities such as a restaurant and a large outdoor terrace with a floating pool in the Maas as a special addition. This makes the design an icon that in practice shows how Rijnhaven can make the transition from an industrial port to a habitable city port.

For the design of FOR, the well-being of users has been paramount. Large floor-to-ceiling windows provide great views and the balconies on the floors provide direct access to the outdoors. Surrounded by water, they enjoy the stunning views during their working day and access to the terrace to relax. The JSA must work effectively to contribute to a vibrant and secure future. Therefore, a comfortable and quiet work environment is of great importance. Studies show that interiors with many wood surfaces reduce stress and improve concentration, leaving the wood’s natural warmth and tranquility inside visible. For example, FOR is an icon from the outside but rain or sunshine; inside it is an oasis of calm in the ever-developing Rijnhaven.

The design of the floating office Rotterdam (FOR) stemmed from the principle that the building must be in balance both physically and in its role as the representative head office of the JSA. First of all, the symmetrical design gives a certain elegance, but also distributes the physical weight effectively over the water. The balance is also sought in the combination of materials and energy systems. For example, the building is made of wood, which is suitable for floating due to its light weight, and which drastically reduces the ecological footprint such as CO2 storage. This construction stands on a floating body consisting of 15 concrete barges anchored to each other. The concrete, in turn, makes a significant contribution to FOR’s climate control due to in-situ liquid pipes that take the temperature of the port water and use it as a cooling and heat source for the indoor climate. In addition, this type of foundation provides complete freedom in the choice of a lattice. As a result, an ideal size has been found in a square grid of 6×6 meters. As a result, the wood structure is efficient in the use of materials and consists of a modular construction system of CLT floors and walls and laminated columns and beams that can be easily dismantled and recycled using dry joints. The spacious layout also increases the flexibility to accommodate forms of use and also enable future changes in use.

Together with 870m2 of solar panels on the southern roof, FOR annually generates more electricity than its own needs and supplies electricity to the city. This means that the building consists of a balanced combination of components – the liquid body as a heat source, wood as the main material and the roof as a source of electricity – which are tuned in their properties in such a way that the whole works optimally. , adaptive and sustainable.

The ultimate value of Floating Office Rotterdam is that all of the above has been put together in an elegant, timeless and comfortable design where the user is central. The 6x3m large windows offer unobstructed views of the Rijnhaven all around, and the office roofs surrounded by balconies ensure that you can also enjoy the outdoors. Public space is available on the spacious deck connected to a restaurant and 900 m2 of birds and insects live on a green roof at the top.

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