Built in 1916, the Postkandoor was one of the only original structures still standing after Rotterdam Blitz, the aerial bombardment in 1940 which demolished nearly all of the city’s historic core. After sitting vacant for nearly a decade, this historic post office of Rotterdam is set to be transformed into Post Rotterdam: a 58,000 square metre, mixed-used complex.
Located in the city centre of Rotterdam, this historically important building stands as a testament to the city’s inextinguishable spirit. Designing, restoring and engineering the conversion of this heritage requires the utmost respect, as well as ambition to deliver a complex worthy of its central position in Rotterdam.
The City of Rotterdam’s objective is to re-energize the city centre with the activation of this site through a combination of residential, retail, and hospitality programming.
New York-based ODA, in collaboration with Dutch practice Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau, have been selected to redesign the iconic Postkantoor in the Netherlands, and aims to bring new life to the city centre.
ODA have created an adaptive reuse project, where their design was made to both preserve and adapt the Postkantoor’s original construction.
Eran Chen, Executive Director at ODA is said to quote, “We believe that it’s time for the POST to stand not only as a memory, but also as an expression of the strength of Rotterdam today as a vibrant, connected, centre of culture, renewal, and quality of life.”
The POST will be an municipal junction distinguished by seamless connectivity to the surrounding city. A new 150 meter-tall tower will rise towards the rear of the Postkantoor and straddle the existing open courtyard, which is coupled with the Great Hall of the Postkantoor.
The POST tower is designed with nonpareil windows which show openings that vary in size and shape to funnel daylight. This design sets a break from the numerous glass-facade towers along the new Rotterdam skyline, and celebrates the elegance of the main hall along its profile.
The upper floors which were formerly dedicated to the telegraph and telephone services of the post office, will be restored into a remarkable five star hotel, operated by Kimpton. “The Post tower is a reinterpretation of both urban living and the post office’s architectural assets,” Chen quotes.
Access to the POST will be granted by two existing street-level entrances and be lined with shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes, which spill out into the courtyard, adding to the city’s pedestrian experience.
So that the history behind this monument is reserved, it will once again serve as a point of engagement in the city centre, linking Rotterdam Centraal with Markthal.
In hopes, the new Postkantoor will update the skyline without rupturing it, and the community will be offered a renewed take on a building full of memories. “We believe that the hidden treasures that it holds should be shared by all citizens.” Quoted Chen.