by Emiliano Gandolfi
Willem Jan Neutelings of Neutelings Riedijk Architects spoke with Emiliano Gandolfi, a correspondent for The Plan magazine, about the Dutch firm's design approach as exemplified in the Shipping and Transport College in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. — Editor
Emiliano Gandolfi: Part of the gradual revitalization of the port of Rotterdam, the Shipping and Transport College is the ultimate "urban icon," not at all what one would expect of a school building. How did it come about?
Willem Jan Neutelings: We had to bear in mind the particular character of the College, created 15 years before from the merger of several Dutch maritime training establishments. The new school brought many completely different functions under the same roof: mechanical workshops, virtual simulation labs, restaurants, gyms, offices, and classrooms. The result was a highly intricate program.
The College is also of international standing, so it was essential to develop a strong, recognizable image. Another key aspect was the need to maintain a visual reference with the port, its warehouses, silos and containers.
This led us to propose a tower shape in keeping with a port environment. The form brings together all the requirements of the brief and at the same time gave us a highly distinctive building whose cantilevered auditorium offers splendid views over the sea.
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This article is excerpted from New Forms: Plans and Details for Contemporary Architects by The Plan, copyright © 2009, with permission of the publisher, Thames & Hudson.