Rotterdam is continually evolving. The city is famed for its great diversity of 20th-century architecture as well as its newer ultramodern structures. In each issue, we shine a spotlight on one of Rotterdam Central District’s iconic buildings. This time, we take a look at Calypso Rotterdam. With its bright red façade, Calypso – named after the cinema that used to be located in the same spot – is one of RCD’s biggest eye-catchers. The complex overlooks the cultural heart of the Central District, near music, festival, film and theatre venues including De Doelen, Pathé and Theater Rotterdam.
In 2001, the British architect Will Alsop unveiled an ambitious master plan for RCD. The plan, which came to be known as the ‘champagne glasses’, in reference to the sinuate structures on the station plaza, stretched from the Groot Handelsgebouw, past the original Shell buildings and across Kruisplein. But it was a turbulent time for the city and the plan was ultimately shelved. Calypso alone got the green light and still strikes a spectacular note in the district. Developed on a spot previously occupied by a Holiday Inn, St Paul’s Church and the old Calypso cinema, the ‘new’ Calypso was planned as a mixed-use development with room for the church to return in a modern incarnation.
Besides its red colour, Calypso also stands out thanks to its striking ‘wavy’ silhouette. Inside are 407 apartments, from luxury owner-occupied apartments to short-term rentals, bringing a healthy mix of residents and users to the area and chiming well with Rotterdam’s diverse dynamic. The main entrance on Mauritsweg opens into a large, bright atrium. Inside, the public spaces are designed for smooth traffic flows. Under the residential blocks are two levels of circulation area, the lower of which has transparent paving that crosses the upper level and leads directly to a car park with space for more than 300 cars. As well as a 24-hour service desk, communal gym and meeting rooms, the complex also has offices and shops.
Architects: Alsop Architects | ALL Design
Address: Mauritsweg 1
Contractor: Boele & van Eesteren
Floor area: 26,950 m2
Tenants: 407 residential apartments, meeting spaces, common gym, Albert Heijn, Bagels & Beans, PRSC, Intermax, Greenwheels, Oriental Express Chinees Restaurant, SUMO Sushi & Grill