van Bergen Kolpa Architecten

Pak Huis Waalhaven

Client: Stimuleringsfonds voor Architectuur, 'Ontwerpen aan Goederenvervoer' icw Ruimtelab, Shift Architecture en Mixst
Project: New containerterminal and assemblagehall
Location: Waalhaven Rotterdam
Planning: Design 2007
Advisors: Havenbedrijf Rotterdam en the Netherlands Research School on Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics (TRAIL)

Economic Context
Among the most important economic activities in the Netherlands is the transportation of goods. Dutch spatial planning reflects this in the form of large-scale logistical landscapes and infrastructure. The Port of Rotterdam lies at the centre of this infrastructure and fulfills a main port function within the global and European transportation industry, Strength and the ‘unique selling point’ of the Port of Rotterdam are combined with transportation modalities water, road, track, and adjacent urban fabric. To consolidate this position and prepare for the future it is of vital importance to maximize the value of the continual flow of goods. This optimization of value will occur through communication with those experienced in the specifics goods transport, transforming the Europort into more than a transshipment hub.

Port Landscape
The universal module for the transportation of goods is the container, or TEU. Its compatibility with water, road and track has and will continue to dominate the rural landscape. Asphalt plains smeared over the land provide a stage for a choreography of cranes and trolleys, together maintaining a continuous logistical ballet among rows of piled containers. The hard surface area required for this operation will only increase with the demand for more efficient transportation of goods. This undesirable result calls for a new perspective on our methods of goods transportation. A radical revision (evolution) of these methods is necessary if we are to preserve the port landscape.

The port functions create a type of landscape rather than urban space. Are we trying to urbanise?

Is it possible to represent the economic value of goods transport with a powerful new icon?

Building
Pak Huis Waalhaven is a new typology for a container terminal, combining transshipment functions with production and processing spaces. It will form a link in the transport chain between the global supply of half-products and the distribution of end-products to European consumers.
Pak Huis Waalhaven consists of an automated sorting machine which utilizes a stepped profile to provide maximum loading/unloading efficiency. It is covered by a second programmatic layer which includes added value functions such as production and processing. This layering will optimize the surface area required for the transportation of goods, preserving the port landscape while providing a new icon for the Port of Rotterdam.