Social-Return-On-Investment in interior De Rotterdam

by Rosanne van Tilburg on April 18, 2013

GROUP A, in cooperation with Studio Makkink & Bey and ROUKENS + VAN GILS, has finalised the Design Development for the interior of the 40,000 sqm new municipal offices in De Rotterdam. The building, designed by OMA and located on the Wilhelminapier Rotterdam, will be completed in 2014. Being the prime tenant, the Municipality of Rotterdam has been client to the interior design and will move into its new premises beginning 2015. The municipal offices will occupy 33 floors in the middle one of the three towers.


The Rotterdam can be regarded as a vertical city, when it comes to height, size and number of ‘residents’. The brief thereby creates the opportunity the design to be inspired by the spatial structure and socio-economic cohesion of the classical city. The sequence of public spaces (nodes), provides the user orientation, structure and interaction. Applying these urban qualities to the new work environment, fits perfectly into the New Rotterdam Ways of Work (HNW010). Facility nodes serving the user at various levels: individual workstation (home/street), work environment (neighbourhoodl) and organisation (city). The nodes reveal a surprising atmosphere, character and diversity, at which meeting and multifunctionality is stimulated. Every other floor, a floor gets a unique theme such as ‘square’ or ‘park’, in accordance with the concept of vertical city.


The design and fit-out of the ‘urban nodes’ is guided by the municipal ‘Social-Return-On-Investment’ initiative and finds her inspiration in Rotterdam’s cultural diversity and colorful community. This design approach manifests itself in particular in the multi-functional Welcome Floor. Part of the SROI-budget will be deployed to clarify which collaborations with Rotterdam institutions are instrumental to bringing the Rotterdam-spirit to the building. Both cultural institutions (festivals and concerts), as well as educational and sports institutions can make use of these spaces, by which the Municipality ‘opens up’ part of the municipal offices to the people of Rotterdam.



An major theme in the design is the reuse of existing furniture, an explicit request from the Municipality of Rotterdam. Besides being a sustainable concept this theme also provides budgetary savings compare to buying new furniture. The office chairs and part of the conference chairs will be reused and re-upholstered. Rotterdam based artist André Castro has specially developed a fabric with a pattern representing the Rotterdam street names (Open Street Map). Renovation and upholstering will be conducted by Robedrijf (division of Roteb) in close cooperation with DAAD. During a proces of approximately one year, about 2,000 seats will be renovated.

DAAD Werkt made a movie on Social Return in De Rotterdam, with a nice interview with one of GROUP A’s architects Birgitta Rottmann.


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