Monolab initiative
Status: call for investors & project developers for participation
Design: Monolab, team: Jan Willem van Kuilenburg with M. Baillie, I. Toleo Fernandez, C. Simpson
Year: 2009


…an upgrade of the cultural axis

Rotterdam stays behind on two issues compared to other cities. First, Rotterdam has little functional green public space. Second, Rotterdam ignores a positive use for citizens and tourists of its 94-KM waterfront along the Maas River. Rotterdam based design practice MONOLAB architects has taken initiative to take up these issues through the ‘GREEN RIVER’ project.


1. A Monolab upgrade of the Westersingel, the green axis running parallel with the Coolsingel main boulevard. It connects all fragmented tiny green plots, it makes the city centre more healthy and human and it improves its absorption of rainwater. Green River also connects two dedicated public buildings on both sides. In the North the renewed CENTRAL STATION and in the South the ‘ROTTERDAM GREEN BUILDING’, a cultural hotspot designed by Monolab.
2. In the urban window of this building a site originates where the city is connected to the river at last. The Euromast Park is linked a new, permanent BEACH to the Maas River.

Jan Willem van Kuilenburg, principal of Monolab Architects: …..’Through GREEN RIVER we have united city and river again. Rotterdam has a dramatic lack of useable green space within its downtown district. The few city parks, like the Zuiderpark and Kralingse Bos, are too remote. The city center only has the hidden Euromast Park and the Westersingel green axis. In our proposal we made a quantum leap by introducing a green shared space for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. The new green and deliberately vulnerable surface has a larger buffer capacity for rain water and certain existing buildings along will have green facades and roofs.

We also planned the multifunctional and embedded ‘GREEN ROTTERDAM BUILDING’ on the Westerkade quay, connecting Green River with the Maas River through a permanent BEACH. This initiative contributes to the transformation of Rotterdam, the city that lost its westward moving world harbour, the city that never really was connected with its Maas River except for pure logistic reasons but owns 94-km waterfront within its Ring. Many cities already realised their waterfronts, it’s about time for Rotterdam to take action. Green River is our proposal in that direction for its citizens as well as tourists. The tourist industry is the largest in the world and will double in the next twenty years. I expect that Rotterdam will regret if it would miss this huge opportunity. The city cannot simply attract tourism through ‘hit and run’ events all the time. The city also has a responsibility to realise a structural quality within its public space. We make this first move by linking the inner city to the river through this project that serves both its citizens and the market’… .