Today, it is hard to imagine, but not long ago the quays of Rotterdam formed an almost forgotten quality. Where activities were concentrated in the inner-city environment, they were often undefined,  extinct or used as parking and left over space. In line with our vision of a connected city, these spaces  were given a new relationship with the inner city, the design and use were upgraded. The result is a flexible green quay that has a high quality pause during  resting points and activities. A quality that has since become a core feature for Rotterdam’s new public spaces.

Rotterdam, the Netherlands
2008 - 2010
Project area
5,3 ha
DS+V, Piet Oudolf
Photography credits
Antoine Thevenet, Ben ter Mull

Green quays

The centre vision formulated by us  and dS+V has identified the immense potential for creating a more accessible and recreational riverfront. Transforming the river quays is a crucial part in the necessary revitalisation of public spaces. However, achieving this goal requires reducing long-term parking on the quays and repurposing them into inviting areas for people to linger and enjoy.

Creator of meaningful places

Our  plans for the Westerkade and Parkkade embrace the concept of a green quay, carefully delineating spaces for traffic and leisure. The idea revolves around functional flexibility, crafting an inviting place that offers both seclusion during peaceful moments and versatility for small and large events. Embracing the water’s edge, the small Van Ommerenhaven has been transformed into an alluring spot along the Maas, featuring a broad staircase leading to the water and a jetty for the new water taxi stop. The green character of the quay is not just defined by the trees but also by a series of planting beds with wide seating edges. Piet Oudolf’s planting plan provides a focal point  and ensures a captivating interplay of colours and textures throughout the seasons.


A Recreational path along the river Maas

The quays of Rotterdam has been reinvented as a recreational path, following a strategy devised by us. The Westerkade, in a remarkably short span of time, has transformed into an indispensable destination, emblematic of the evolving riverfronts. Rotterdam, now more deeply connected with the Maas, has embraced the river with renewed enthusiasm. The quays stand as a testament to the city’s ever-growing affection for the water, offering a haven where locals and visitors alike, can revel in the allure of the Maas.

Although the quay is experienced as green and intimate, the place is particularly flexible for events. That quality was used when the area was selected as the starting point of the Tour de France shortly after its completion.

Creator of meaningful places

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