Page 18 - MODUS NEWS 02
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The B Tower is located in the center of Rotterdam, immediately adjacent
to the Bijenkorf department store designed by Marcel Breuer in the late 1950s. Because of its commercial context, the site below Bijenkorf’s roofline is to be fully occupied, while above it, just 30 percent of the lot toward
the sunken shopping mall, Beurstraverse, has been released to build a high-rise tower. In order to avoid splitting the project into a basement and a tower, the design stacks three volumes of similar height. The ground
level contains a clothing store, The Sting, and a car parking facility; the two upper levels contain apartments.
Accordingly, the entrance to the store faces the pedestrian precinct, whereas the private and service parts of the building can be accessed from the side road. The minimized core of the high-rise can access up to six apartments per floor so as to keep up with changing market demands. The shifting of volumes in and out of alignment defines two areas of different depth in relation to the central circulation, resulting in two principal layouts for the apartments. In the less-deep ones, the bathroom gives a view of the city.
Analogous to Breuer’s building, the façade is not related to the separate levels but to the respective volumes. The skin, which consists of alternating glazed and aluminum panels, is an extrusion of the bottom plan. A series of cantilevered balconies clustered in a few lines takes care of the larger scale.
Currently under construction, the new Allianz Suisse Headquarters complex consists of a high-rise, as well as a five-story, mixed-use building. It defines the edges of the block within the contours defined by an urban plan set by Vittorio Lampugnani. Both buildings are connected to each other through a series of bridges, enabling the various office, dining, and retail facilities to interact effortlessly.
Literally taking the concept of “interiority,” the buildings produce a spatial, programmatic, and atmospheric variety within. The pure layering of floors is broken through a series of voids that link individual floors both visually and physically. These voids create shortcuts between floors using open stairways, producing new and unexpected visual and spatial relations. Because these voids were planned as an option in the structure, the buildings become more adaptable to individual use, and create the possibility of a more vertical rental arrangement for the respective tenants.
At the same time, the diversity enables different atmospheres within a homogeneous frame. The lobby, similar to a hotel reception area, can be used for different activities. It could, for instance, become a foyer for a lecture hosted by the local university and held in the auditorium. A multitude of conditions were developed that allow flexible working and lounge areas to be situated next to individual workstations for informal working.
Structural glazing, partially printed using silkscreen techniques, envelops both buildings. A silver curtain acts as sun protection within the façade void by means of a central control; the building envelope can thus react to changing light conditions. Structural elements were, when possible, integrated into other building components to secure a high grade of flexibility in support-free areas.

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