Squaring The Circle

The Lifespan of buildings made of concrete, steel and wood is in average 73 years. While post-war development in Rotterdam formed the physical configuration of the city, it did not account for the life cycle of the built environment. 2019 marks the 74th year since the end of World War II, a year more than the average lifespan of a building.

Squaring the Circle is a vision for the M4H, a strategy that focuses on framing undefined spaces that act as a sponge where economical, material and waste flows can be absorbed and released.

The Grid permeates throughout Vierhavensblok, infrastructuralizing and facilitating structural, productive and cultural proliferation on site: a frame for permanent redefinition of the site’s configuration.

Material Flow

The Construction Consolidation Center constitutes the central storage of material for the entire site, while a network of Material Hubs, spread in every neighborhood act as a public inventory of residual waste.

The Material Hub manages the material flow of productive and disassembled materials. These materials are kept at the local scale of the neighborhood and absorbed for local production and housing finishings.


While phasing of conventional urban strategies is linear - determined by the completion of buildings and zones - we propose a circular idea of phasing, that values incompletion and accepts change as its status quo.

The Building blocks on the project site combine a productive plynth - extension of the grid - with residential towers and bars that host a number of different typologies and living scenarios for the community.

The Material Hub becomes a public inventory of residual waste, maintaining it on site and sustaining affordability. As the materials cycle in and out, Vierhavensblok becomes not only a space for making but a testing ground for new scenarios of buildind and material assembly.


Housing Typologies

To assure dynamic and resilient neighborhood, the proposed housing typologies provide greater amount of square meters, over which a certain ratio is delivered without finishes.

The flexibility to freely construct and disassemble parts of the domestic space takes full advantage of the makers and materials flowing in site: from straight-reuse of waste materials and components as partitions and furniture to the implementation of products being produced in the site.

This system allows the single unit to absorb - in time - the residual disassembly flows coming from existing buildings and the waste flows from the productive functions. Furthermore, the freedom within the constraints of the grid allows the users to adapt the unfinished spaces for their own needs to sustain the block’s inner economy. While some could transform it into additional rooms, some could create a workspace, or could rent it out to integrate their income.

Block 3 - GroundFloor Plan

Block 3 - Typical Plan

ops archive_ Rotterdam_ SquaringtheCircle_ 2019.05/06/07_ 51.6GB_ 135folders_1537files