ClientCambridge Innovation Center
TeamVincent van der Meulen, Martin van Kessel, Hetty Mommersteeg, Mahdi al Sraiffe, Bart van der Werf, Eveline Withagen
On the fourth floor of the Groot Handelsgebouw, right next to Rotterdam Central Station, the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) has launched their first international location. Kraaijvanger Architects, together with CIC, designed the innovative interior in this icon of the post-war reconstruction of Rotterdam.
CIC, founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, creates vibrant, large-scale communities of startups, investors, and innovator corporates in a shared office and co-working environment. From a single desk to offices for more than thirty people: CIC offers space, flexibility, community, and all the necessary resources to grow. CIC provides more than just facility services; like the seven US branches cross-pollination between the enterprises is a key ingredient for growth.
Density, diversity, flexibility, and proximity are the four basic principles for this startup ecosystem. They provide interaction, collaboration opportunities, and all possible facilities for a startup to grow.
The corridors of CIC meander through the rigid structure of the Groot Handelsgebouw, almost making you forget that you're in a strict, orthogonal building from the 1950’s. Each hallway ends in a unique public space full of light; these areas serve as both natural meeting places and organic landmarks. Brass frames that follow the building’s rectilinear support structure give a robust character to the circulation space and are a nod to the building’s origins. The unique structure, the diversity of spaces, and special materials used make the whole an office environment unlike any other in the Netherlands.
In addition to a diverse range of office spaces there are meeting rooms in all conceivable sizes, open work spaces, private phone booths, showers, a kitchen, bar, massage room and even a room where exhausted entrepreneurs can take a nap. Each room has unique qualities and its own character.
The design and implementation of this unique upgrade of 4.000 m² office space was completed in a record time of seven months. For the transformation, custom-made light fixtures where designed, art designed by local artists was integrated in a collaboration with Arttenders, and where possible circular materials where used. For Kraaijvanger Architects, transformations like these are an important step towards a sustainable future for existing buildings.