Our team ( Snøhetta, Kraaijvanger Architects and Baljon) was one of the five selected firms to submit a design for the renovated Central Library in Rotterdam. We are very proud to present our sketch design for the design competition for the renovation of the Rotterdam Central Library. The Central Library Rotterdam is one of the largest libraries in the Netherlands with more than 2.4 million visitors annually. The 6-story structuralist building, designed in 1977 by Van den Broek and Bakema, is one of the beloved architectural curiosities of the city.
Much has changed since the opening of the original building. The urban context is dominated by high-rise buildings and the enormous size of the Binnenrotte. The crumbling structuralist form is characteristic and we consider it to be worth preserving. But it also means that the building does not manifest itself on the Binnenrotte and has become anonymous and inconspicuous. The introduction of the new waterfall at the location of the current entrance brings the building fully into the limelight. Coming from Blaak Station there is no doubt about where to go. A dialogue is created not only between the new waterfall and the city, but also between the new waterfall and the existing building. The library becomes richer and more complex. Mindful of the adage; city within the city. The development in a vertical sense symbolizes the building as a vertical city. It provides an enormous dynamic to the Binnenrotte that lacks this urban space. From the Binnenrotte a clearly visible entrance for the bicycle storage is designed next to the building. The ground level with greenery, which frames the entrance downwards, and where on entering one comes into contact with the foundation on which the library rests; the Erasmus collection on display.