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ZoHo Rotterdam

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Location: Rotterdam / The Netherlands / Type: Built: 2021 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on November 19, 2020

A new creative district where not only existing local businesses and a community of creative professionals, but also a mix in new neighbourhood residents can flourish. The winning project of the ZoHo tender in Rotterdam’s creative district is bound to set new standards for urban living and working. It is designed to be a strong socially inclusive neighbourhood.

ZoHo is an area adjacent to Rotterdam’s Central Business district and Agniese district. In the past decade, creative professionals have turned a brownfield into a lively creative district. This low-rise business area with its own identity needs to be transformed into a mixed neighbourhood to meet the city’s urgent densification challenges.

Stacking and intertwining ambitions

We stack three habitats: lab, land(scape) and city. Where a mix in housing (from social to privately owned, from micro-apartments to townhouses where studio and living space is combined) is spread across the levels. The main thought behind the plan is that we don’t just stack different layers, but intertwine layers by adding collective spaces for social cohesion. With the rooftop park as the most visible and defining feature.

Densification with identity preservation

The design identifies space to accommodate multiple ambitions and withstand long-term development. To build upon what is already there: a strong community of creative professionals working in studios and workshops. Adding new layers to keep this creative population in the area and being able to allocate residential space for a mixed population. Striving to keep social and middle class in the city.

Social inclusion by configuration

Social inclusion and cohesion is created by a mix in typologies and social housing, work spaces, collective spaces and in the way these are configured. We have reused existing plot sizes and all components can be (re)built separately in time. With this set-up we are able to accommodate the current (creative) entrepreneurs in affordable workspaces during and after the development of the new ZoHo.

Mix use and high diversity

The project builds on ZOHO’s current identity. Creativity and innovation are prominent in this. When curating the interpretation of the various functions, we therefore explicitly look at how parties underline, propagate or reinforce the DNA of the Zomerhofkwartier. Bringing balance to the program through a complementary mix of functions. Each program has therefore distinctive character and added value for the Zomerhofkwartier.

The sequence of entrances, public facilities and collective spaces forms a routing with which connections are made between the various layers in the plan. The Lab layer connects manufacturing workshops, Mobility hub, living rooms, catering and experimental forms of co-living. The strong interaction between these functions are facilitated and connected through the collective inner world in the Lab layer.

Climate adaptation in a sponge city

The elevated moor park makes this design climate adaptive, as the area is prone to flooding after downpours. It is a little sponge city with an underground reservoir and irrigation system for extreme draught in summertime. A unique climate adaptive concept that does not have to be connected to the sewer system.


Design team: ECHO urban design, Orange Architects, More Architecture, Studio Nauta and MoederscheimMoonen Architects. Visuals: Vero Visuals

Partners: Workspot, Kickstad, Groos, Bouwinvest, Next Urban Mobility, New Horizon, Short Stay Citizens, Rebel, Boomvanmourik

Project location (Street, City, Country): Agniesebuurt, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Design year: 2019

Year Built: expected to start in 2021

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