Rotterdam to get demountable timber social housing block

Rotterdam timber housing
The elevation of the building mimics its predecessor’s form, but in CLT rather than concrete (The Powerhouse Company)

Dutch architect Powerhouse Company has revealed its design for a modular timber, 82-unit social housing project in Rotterdam that it says is demountable.

The 12-storey, 40m-high Valckensteyn housing block will be built in Pendrecht, a southern suburb of Rotterdam built during the city’s post-war reconstruction, and now suffering from social deprivation. 

The largest timber building of its kind in the Netherlands, it will occupy the site of an earlier social housing project of the same name. 

Stefan Prins, the lead architect, said the aim of the design was to “showcase the harmony of concrete stability and wooden innovation, where sustainability meets affordability”.

Rotterdam timber housing
West-facing apartments have generous balconies (The Powerhouse Company)

About 85% of the building will be taken up by the timber elements, stiffened by a concrete elevator core.

The timber structure will be light enough to use the old foundations, thereby cutting out a whole package of works.

Factory-fabricated modules

The building itself will be built up from a range of factory-fabricated cross-laminated-timber modules laid on a plinth clad in travertine, a sedimentary rock.

These are assembled without the use of glue, meaning the building can be demounted rather than demolished at the end of its life.

The lower storeys have floor-to-ceiling windows, and the flats on the western facade have wide balconies. 

Rotterdam timber housing
The modules are fixed in a way that makes them easy to demount and reuse (The Powerhouse Company)

The flower gardens and arboretum were designed by Rotterdam firm LAP Landscape & Urban Design with biodiversity in mind.

The client for the project is the Woonstad Rotterdam Housing Corporation. Dutch engineer IOB handles the structural and MEP elements, and was also the QS.

The cost of the project has not been revealed. 

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