Little C is a high density mixed use urban development near the center of Rotterdam. The plot developed is small and surrounded by infrastructure. On the Westside lies the Coolhaven, an old little harbor and important route for inland waterway transport. The idea is to create a new urban neighborhood with an atmosphere that fits in with the iconic brick buildings that dominate this part of the city.

The introduction of a rigid grid filled in with 15 small scale blocks brings a new logic to the site. The grid allows to connect it to the surrounding neighborhoods like the Erasmus MC and the Hogeschool Rotterdam. Within the grid there is place for three little squares which give the neighborhood their own addresses and makes it a pleasant place to stay.

Integrated in the city

The project is like a puzzle piece that creates a new place in the city and connects the existing parts as well. The biggest intervention is to realise a new park between the Heemraadssingel in the west and the Park in the south. A current urban road is transformed into the linear Coolhaven park.

Little C should be embedded in its surroundings, therefore the plan is an ensemble of 15 individual buildings. They all differ in size and fit with their limited dimensions well in the human scale. The biggest one corresponds exactly with the heights of the surrounding buildings like the GEB-tower.

The city on eye level

A connecting neighborhood is especially attractive on eye level. By elevating the ground floor, a natural balance between public and private is created. The plan is inviting but offers at the same time an intimate atmosphere, which is strengthened and emphasized by the narrow streets. The entrees as well as the transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces are soft and smooth with natural stone plinths, arcades, canopies and steps.


The outdoor space is green with a rough no-nonsense language, in which concrete and recycled cobblestones determine the atmosphere. The enormous amount of plants on the ground level – along and on the facades, between the buildings and on the roof terraces form a nice counterpart to the brick and concrete.

Once fully grown, the green not only makes people happy, it also attracts bees, insects and birds, with which the plan contributes to nature inclusiveness in the city.

To be able to create such a green space, a water retention deck is placed underneath the pavement. This deck ensures the water supply for the plants and trees while at the same time buffering the rain water.

Roof gardens

Seven collective roof gardens are part of the plan. The smaller apartment towers are connected by striking walkways (bridges) between three of them on each floor. Together they also share a collective roof garden which is designed with weathering steel and brick planters with shrubs and small multi-stem trees.


Website: Juurlink [+] Geluk Rotterdam

Other designers involved in the process: jvantspijker, INBO, Ruud-Jan Kokke, van Helvoirt groenprojecten

Project location): G.J. de Jonghweg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Design year: 2011- 2016

Year Built: 2018-2021

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