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Rotterdam has a growing demand for student housing. To address this shortage, Mecanoo was asked to design a student housing complex on a prominent location of the Erasmus campus: at the intersection of Abram van Rijckevorselweg and Burgemeester Oudlaan. The prominent corner site, while offering an opportunity to strengthen the campus’s visual identity, also came with the challenges of a limited building envelope and noisy traffic.
The eight-story complex accommodates 281 studio units for international students. A central courtyard brings light and air into the heart of the building and extends as an internal street, connecting the complex with the campus’s street network.
On both ends of the building, this central open space leads to a generous lobby. The courtyard also provides access to individual rooms, the collective study space, a launderette, the concierge’s office, and bike parking.
The student housing complex has a classical subdivision of plinth, body, and crown. The facade is wrapped in gold-tinted aluminum panels. Changing daylight creates a play of shadows along with the harmonica-like pleated facade panels, which gradually vary from gold to silver when viewed from different angles. To give the building’s crown a subtle accent, the pleated pattern is reversed on the top level. Next, to each window, the aluminum fold protrudes outwards, invisibly integrating acoustically attenuated ventilation. That way, fresh air can enter while traffic noise is blocked. The entire building is circular and was realised within one year, which was made possible by prefabricating the structure and facade elements, including the windows. Thanks to the efficient construction process, the building was ready to accommodate new students by the beginning of the academic year.