The Day of Architecture is celebrated over a weekend with many tours and buildings to explore. This event is perfect to peek at the neighbours of the high risers, ride the lift to the top skyscrapers and explore locations that are not even finalised for the public. During this event, many off-limit buildings, both finished and unfinished building sites can be visited for as little as pocket money. Many are even free, but ones that you had to book and pay for were no more than €8 euros per person. A very reasonable price to pay!
The theme of the Day of Architecture 2018 was City for Tomorrow (Stad voor Morgen). With an increase of persons wanting to live in the city, there is high demand. This requires not only for the city to keep catching up with new housing construction, but including an upgrade to the infrastructure, greenery parks and other city facilities. The Day of Architecture shows what architecture and urban planning can do to keep the fast-growing cities liveable.
The Erasmusbrug Tour
We booked a paid tour to explore the behind the scenes Erasmusbrug which is usually closed to the public. Per person it was only €4 euros. With only seeing one photo on their website, we were pretty curious what areas we would see underneath the famous white swan bridge. This was our first time participating the event and felt that this was a good tour to join!
Starting the tour, we met the guide at the Nieuwe Luxor Theatre on Kop Van Zuid. With a small introduction to the statistics of the bridge, we were taken to the entrance. As of 2018 the bridge is 22 years old, completed in 1996. Designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel, the bridge is an important construction to connect South Rotterdam with the Center and North Rotterdam. Furthermore, it wasn’t just built for cars and pedestrians but also the trams.
Inside we were first shown the pumps that move the mechanics of the bridge. All pipes were explained from the main pumps too, which can open and close the bridge within 7 minutes. A smaller explanation of the blue pump was given, which is the back up generator. This back up generator takes much longer than 7 minutes to open the bridge, 1 hour to be exact. It’s not very often needed but when there is a malfunction, this one will be used.
In the main area was the counter weight of the bridge and 4 mechanical arms for the movement. From above we could see deep down below us the floor, wet from rain that seeps through. However from below we could really understand the depth of this underground location. The 4 levels deeper gave us also an insight to the construction of the bridge above us, showing the inside of the 4 construction pipes that connect to the tip of the bridge.
After our tour, we were invited back one hour later to watch the bridge open from below. The bridge opens just once a day so it was really unique that we could join! With a bell the process started and the large pumps could be heard from the other area. The 7 minutes flew by and before we knew it, it was already closed again.
The Red Apple Tour
For the second part of the Day of Architecture, we joined a free tour at the Red Apple. Starting at the smaller building called ‘Kopblok’, we were shown an inside garden area on level 23. This building is made up of offices and 79 apartments, with a height of 53 meters. From this level the Willemsbrug was in clear view.
Heading back down to level 7 we arrived on the parking garage area which connects to the larger building. There are 338 spaces found within the car park, enough to accommodate the apartments and the offices. Here it was possible to see the Witte Huis through the parking area next to the Cubic Houses. Furthermore the view towards Rotterdam Station Blaak and the Rotterdam Library could also be seen.
The larger building has 40 levels made up of 152 apartments, with a total height of 124 meters. The whole complex was completed by 2009 and designed by KCAP Architects & Planners and Jan des Bouvrie. As of 2018, the Red Apple is the eighth-tallest building in Rotterdam, however I feel this will definitely change with the new buildings that are currently in construction.
Day of Architecture Summary
The Day of Architecture is one I will definitely enjoy for next year and recommend to you. These two tours were given in Dutch, therefore limited to those who understand Dutch, however our group did include many international people who participated for the views and scenery. The weather wasn’t the best but that didn’t stop us enjoying the tours. In addition, we had to wait a little for the Red Apple Tour as it was pretty busy as a free tour, so we enjoyed a drink at a little cafe before the tour.
- Join a tour – even if you don’t speak Dutch as it’s a great way to explore the city
- Lots of walking involved (we easily reached our 10k steps!)
- Very interesting to learn about the different architecture of the city of Rotterdam – especially since most was bombed during WW2
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Did you join the Day of Architecture in Rotterdam? or maybe in a different city? Share your opinions in the comments we’d love to hear what you thought!