What did the original request entail?
“The municipality of Rotterdam wants to develop the area around the Zuidplein in such a way that a lively, new centre will arise. That is quite the challenge considering it is an outdated area that many people visit, though only very briefly. On the one hand, we have to improve and renovate concrete features. This includes modifying the shopping centre and bus station and building a new theatre and swimming pool.
On the other hand, we must create a healthy living environment, a place that is lively 24/7 and where people meet. When we improve and renovate actual features, we are mainly building according to the contract. However, when creating a healthy living environment, there are plenty options for Heijmans to put its own stamp on it.”
Hart van ZuidHart van Zuid: A place to stay
How do you flesh out such a relatively open question?
“We work intensively with the municipality, presenting options to one another during creative sessions. Luckily, our ideas are highly appreciated. Development of the area results in additional economic activity and that is in the interest of the municipality. At the start of the project, we created a zoning and design plan with liveliness and health as key elements.
One of the main adjustments in the area, is the adjustment of the Gooilandsingel. At the moment, many buses are still driving right through this area. In our plan, we are turning this road into a 750-metre-long city boulevard. So, the Gooilandsingel will become a low-traffic and bus-free area that is well-structured and well-lit. There will also be less noise and air pollution. As a result, the area has the potential to become a meeting place for pedestrians. A place that is safe/healthy and lively.”