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Shipping and Transport College

Neutelings Riedijk

Shipping and Transport College
By Emiliano Gandolfi -

The whole process is predicated on an intuition. Appearance, form, and primary exterior features, even the building’s function and liveability all take their cue from an initial leap of the imagination. Yet though Neutelings & Riedijk let their instinct define the character of the building - light-hearted, ironic yet monumental – its realisation is the result of meticulously detailed creative programming. They break down client requirements, examine the possibilities and determinate which aspects deserve more time and money. It is a synthesis of pragmatism and ecstasy where the architect, he who gives form to client demands, becomes the creator of value added.
It is no surprise that Neutelings & Riedijk define their buildings as ‘sculptures’. The profile of the Shipping and Transport College is a lighthouse, an intangible beacon along the river, a watchtower over the sea and an observation tower over the future city. Part of the regeneration project for the port of Rotterdam, the College stands out on the city’s skyline, an unmistakable landmark to optimism. Even the choice of putting a maritime school in a tower, to obtain precious space, flies in the face of convention. The structure is easy to read: a single element bends in on itself at the top to create a cantilevered auditorium, and then bends twice at ground level to end in a spectacular picture window overlooking the river. Pre-fabricated concrete slabs form the main structure. These are clad in a checker board of undulated aluminium panels that lend an air of impermanence to the whole building, as if it were a stack of containers soon to be shipped out.
Once past the threshold, what Neutelings & Riedijk call Scenario becomes immediately evident. Spatial organisation blends a series of completely diverse functions and creates opportunities for people of different backgrounds but common interests to come together. Internal spaces are articulated to give as much emphasis as possible to...

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