THE BOLD LINE (with Ignas Kalinauskas)

THE BOLD LINE is an exciting reconfiguration of an undefined urban void in the city fabric of Rotterdam, St. Jacobsplaats. The linear element introduces a unique new condition, a Supersized Inhabitable Urban Pergola, which is an avant-garde provocative combination of nature, landscape, architecture and infrastructure. The project’s rigorous stature is a critic to conventional urban design strategies that has become mostly based on typo-morphological continuity.

The structure divides the space in four different identities, each related to specific contextual and landscape conditions. They each have a unique character, land use and sustainable capacities and are able to flow under and through the porous thresholds of the Pergola.

The project site begins North of Rotterdam central market square and ends at the present Minimall building (former Hofplein Train Station). The vacant space is in need of cutting-edge transformation from abandoned and undefined expanses. The project aims to create a catalyst for the city by introducing new social and programmatic structure. We envisage the Hofbogen project as the future green line of Rotterdam. Our project clings and emphasizes this new identity by introducing a critical infrastructural connection that merges within the city and re-establishes the market square as an important historical core.

We aim to trigger a Boulevard by creating an open-air public space, that originates from the city as a folded street and meandering through the Supersized Pergola that is embodies with stairs, ramps, escalators, travellators and plazas. Within the route there are varying characteristics of land use, programs, landscapes that are all connected in a hybrid manner. The individual programmatic parts empower each other and contribute as a new hybrid fragment to the city. Foreign programmes to the area are introduced spreading from sports, spa, aqua park, multifunctional stage to Eco-friendly practices such as urban agriculture, organic food shops and eco-educational activities.

How do the four different identities perform together with the Inhabited Urban Pagoda and the City?

On the north part of the site, a large-scale intensive production farm that grows fruit and vegetables in a experimental city greenhouses is implemented. We want to introduce and expose a vibrant urban agriculture for tourists, as well as enriching the daily activity of residents by involving them in producing food for restaurants. The redundant heat from the greenhouses is stored in aquifers and used in other public functions.

The existing situation with dominant office building on the West side of Hofpoort has resulted in improving the spatial quality by implementing a reflective pond. A formal space accommodating office towers, contrasts the greenhouses on the other side of the intervention. Climatic sustainability benefits from the pond, as the temperature of water is cooler than land in summer, and warmer in winter. This allows for pre-climatising air and water that can be used to ventilate, heat or cool the existing and new buildings.

The East side currently accommodates terraced houses that face the existing park and small water, which creates a clam and serene atmosphere. We exaggerate this sensation by providing a wild forest landscape that is unique in the heart of the city. This will enhance biodiversity; regulate air humidity, while decreasing urban acoustic and the temperature in summer.

The existing parking space on the West is covered and transformed in an active shopping deck, which generates a social sustainable space that ensures constant activity and vibrant movement in the area.

The Bold Line is a continuous landscape design, which runs through the Supersized Urban Pergola - framing the densest part of the intervention. Appendages act as drop-out volumes which help to relate the intervention with the surrounded atmospheres.

On urban level our proposal states the necessity of a strict linear spatial network that defines four different identities that are strategically positioned around public routes. They each promote a certain complexity that is a result of an unexpected combination of nature, landscape architecture, programmes and users. The strategy creates density and greenery to Rotterdam by reclaiming undefined space in a straightforward manner.