Our own Ponte Vecchio
Having lunch at the Markthal we experienced a new perspective. A refreshed view on the yellow cubes houses. It felt like meeting a long lost friend.
Dutch architect Piet Blom, designer of these tilted wooden cubes, had worked for years at his ‘living roof’ concept. He devised a combination of high density living on a raised level. So the ground floor would be available for all kinds of urban activities. For this idea Blom was inspired by the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.
Bombed in World War II the Oude Haven/Groenendaal area lay fallow for years. Much to the annoyance of the Rotterdam inhabitants, because of the historical significance of the place. This is where the city of Rotterdam was founded in the fourteenth century. Yet it took until 1984 before the Blaakse Bos was built.
This controversial design of 38 cube houses, three large cubes and some shops on a pedestrian bridge had to reduce the focus on office buildings and traffic.
Every property, also known as tree house or pole house, consists of a tilted wooden cube that stands on a concrete hexagonal core.
Living in these yellow objects requires a lot of adaptability of the residents. They have to be extremely creative in interior design.
Although the homes and the public space beneath were renovated a few times, the design makes a dated impression. This is mainly due to the frivolous forms of the houses, which do not seem to fit into the sleek design of the city nowadays. The small-scale and intimate atmosphere of the cube houses is in great contrast to the rest of Rotterdam.
Cheers, old friend!
From the beginning the cube houses attracted a lot of attention. And they are still a popular attraction for lots of tourists. The Ouden Haven area next to the Blaakse Bos is, partly due to the excellent orientation to the sun, a popular place for tourists and students.
Definitely a place to visit and maybe even to meet an old friend unexpectedly. If so, don’t forget to raise your glasses to a shared past and a renewed acquaintance. Cheers!