In July 2001, we were asked to create a vision and plan of approach for The “Groot Handels Gebouw” in Rotterdam. A young monument and one of the few buildings left over after the bombing of Rotterdam during the second world war.
The revitalization plan took, as with all our plans, as a starting point the un-used and often unknown qualities and potential of the building and the enforcing of the monumental value.
Our standpoints were to create the greatest sense of unity in the building, to find functions that would (better) fit the building, for example offices with flexible workspaces and smaller flexible units, to
re-evaluate the use of the available space in the building and a new logistic planning, and returning the open and inviting functions like stores on street level.
With around 4000 regular users in the building and 2000 visitors per day, the building had to remain open for business during the revitalization-operation.
The architect, Andre van Stigt, was once again the building master; not only safeguarding architecture and monument, but at the same time responsible for the constructural changes, installation improvements (to top-cooling, computer floors, access-control system), as well as budget control, building logistic and relocation-organization.
The restoring of the public spaces, the “Handelshof” the spacious hallways and especially the roofs as accessible areas, are the grand tribute to the monument by Maaskant & van Tijen and an essential condition to ensure the optimal functioning of this modern social monument of Rotterdam for now and in the future.